Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Young Mothers, Infant Neglect, and Discontinuities in Intergenerational Cycles of Maltreatment
by Bartlett, Jessica Dym, Ph.D., Tufts University, 2012, 291; 3495286
Abstract (Summary)

Infant neglect is the form of child maltreatment that occurs most often, yet has been the least amenable to prevention. With the aim of informing prevention efforts, this dissertation study examined moderators and mediators of the relation between a maternal childhood history of maltreatment and risk for infant neglect among young mothers (n = 447). Neglect risk was assessed using four parenting measures: reports of neglect substantiated by state child protective services, maternal self-reports of neglect, maternal sensitivity, and maternal empathy. The study results supported the theory of intergenerational transmission, but affirmed the hypothesis that most mothers who were victims of maltreatment break the cycle with their children. Specific patterns of maltreatment in the sample differed by type (neglect, physical abuse, multiple type maltreatment) and measurement methodology (substantiated reports, maternal self-reports). Substantiated reports suggested that infants were neglected most often (16% of the sample), but self-reports indicated that physical abuse was more common (21% of the sample). Discontinuity was higher for substantiated reports than self-reports (77% versus 67%). Maternal age moderated the relation between mothers' childhood history of neglect and infant neglect, and between mothers' childhood history of multiple maltreatment and maternal sensitivity. Social support moderated the relation between childhood neglect and maternal empathy. Racial/ethnic differences emerged for three of the four parenting outcomes. Significant mediation effects were not found. Study findings highlight resilience in parenting despite risk for infant neglect, but underscore the context specificity of protective processes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Easterbrooks, M. Ann
Commitee: Ayoub, Catherine C., Cross, Theodore P., Pinderhughes, Ellen E.
School: Tufts University
Department: Child Development
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-B 73/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social work, Developmental psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Child abuse and neglect, Child maltreatment, Infant neglect, Intergenerational cycles of maltreatment, Intergenerational transmission of child maltreatment, Moderators of intergenerational transmission
Publication Number: 3495286
ISBN: 978-1-267-18588-4
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