Does accessibility of positive and negative schema vary by child physical abuse risk?

Julie L. Crouch*, Heather J. Risser, John J. Skowronski, Joel S. Milner, Magdalena M. Farc, Lauren M. Irwin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine differences in accessibility of positive and negative schema in parents with high and low risk for child physical abuse (CPA). Methods: This study combined picture priming and lexical decision making methods to assess the accessibility of positive and negative words following presentation of child and adult faces. The child and adult faces depicted positive, ambiguous, and negative affective valences. The sample included 67 (51 low and 16 high CPA risk) general population parents. Results: CPA risk status was associated with accessibility of positive/negative words only following priming with faces of the opposite affective valence. More specifically, high CPA risk parents were slower to respond to positive (negative) words following priming with negative (positive) faces. Exploratory analyses indicated that this pattern of findings was more clearly apparent when picture primes involved adult faces. Conclusion: The present findings suggest that high and low CPA risk parents differ in how they process affectively incongruent information. Research is needed to further examine schema accessibility, as well as to examine whether processes involved in attention and affect integration play a role in CPA risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)886-895
Number of pages10
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Child physical abuse
  • Information processing
  • Lexical decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Does accessibility of positive and negative schema vary by child physical abuse risk?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this