Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Factors Predicting Maternal Perceptions of Child's Temperament in a Group of African-American and Dominican Women at Risk for Psychological Distress: Constructing a Model from Recalled Early Maternal Bonding, Adult Maternal Attachment and Maternal Demoralization
by Plaza, Maria Beatriz, Ph.D., Columbia University, 2010, 156; 3447975
Abstract (Summary)

This study investigated how the interplay of factors such as recalled early negative maternal bonding, adult maternal insecure attachment, and maternal demoralization influence maternal perceptions of child's difficult temperament. Participants were 200 African-American and Dominican mothers from inner-city neighborhoods in New York that are part of a larger longitudinal study. The Parental Bonding Instrument and the Relationship Scales Questiomiaire were used to measure early recalled maternal attachment and adult maternal attachment respectively. These instruments were also used to test the notion of intergenerational transmission of attachment. Demoralization was measured using the Psychiatric Epidemiological Research Interview-Demoralization Scale and maternal perceptions of child's temperament were measured using the Carey Behavioral Style Questionnaire and the Carey Middle Childhood Temperament Questionnaire depending on child's age. The focus was on difficult temperament, as defined by Birch, Chess, and Thomas: low or high intensity, mood, ryhthmicity, approach, and adaptability. Although results of the regression analysis revealed that recalled early maternal bonding was not predictive of adult maternal attachment or demoralization, simple correlation analysis showed a significant positive association between overprotection and maternal models of self in Dominican women only, confirming partially the intergenerational transmission of attachment hypothesis. Regression analysis also showed that adult maternal attachment was a significant predictor of demoralization. Moreover, analyses indicated that those mothers with fearful and preoccupied styles of attachment scored higher on demoralization than mothers with secure and preoccupied styles of attachment. Contrary to this study's hypotheses, only model of self was a significant predictor of perceptions of child's temperament, and demoralization did not moderate the relationship between adult attachment and perceptions of child's temperament. Findings challenge the use of a single, universal definition of attachment and support the idea that attachment and caregiving behaviors are culturally constructed. Also, results suggest that attachment security is important for adaptive psychological functioning. Further research using a culturally sensitive approach to measuring attachment is needed in order to clarify how factors such as early recalled bonding and attachment affect maternal perceptions of child's temperament.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Farber, Barry
School: Columbia University
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 72/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, Black studies, Clinical psychology, Hispanic American studies
Keywords: African-American, Attachment, Demoralization, Dominican, Maternal bonding, Temperament, Women
Publication Number: 3447975
ISBN: 978-1-124-53309-4
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