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.
- Child physical abuse
- Information processing
- Lexical decision making
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health