Impact of child noncompliance on stress appraisals, attributions, and disciplinary choices in mothers at high and low risk for child physical abuse

Cynthia A. Dopke, Joel S. Milner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The study investigated the impact of repeated child noncompliance on stress appraisals, attributions, and disciplinary choices in high- and low-risk mothers. Method: Fifty (25 high-risk and 25 demographically matched low-risk) mothers responded to questions related to stress appraisals, attributions, and disciplinary choices following presentations of a child engaging in repeated noncompliance. Results: After repeated child noncompliance, high-risk, compared to low-risk, mothers perceived more threat and uncontrollability, rated child behaviors as more stressful, and reported higher levels of negative affect. High-risk mothers also reported more stable, global, and intentional attributions, with a trend toward more internal attributions, but did not differ in their evaluations of wrongness and seriousness of the child's behavior. After repeated noncompliance, a risk group difference was found in estimates of future child compliance but not in the use of power assertive discipline. Conclusions: Results support the view that high-risk, relative to low-risk, mothers are differentially responsive to stressful situations and differ in their attributions for negative child behaviors and in their expectations of future child compliance. However, since risk group differences in disciplinary choices were not also found, additional research is needed to demonstrate the process through which risk group cognitive and affective differences are related to differences in disciplinary behavior. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-504
Number of pages12
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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