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Mothers' child abuse potential as a predictor of maternal and child behaviors during play‐time interactions

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This paper explores the effect of mothers' child abuse potential on maternal and child behaviors during play-time interactions. Forty-two mothers participated in a 10-min play period followed by a clean-up task along with one of their children (range=3–8 years old), after which they completed Milner's (1994) Child Abuse Potential (CAP) Inventory. Mothers' behaviors were coded using a 21-category scheme, which was collapsed into five behavioral clusters: describing, directing, criticizing, soliciting/affirming, and silent play. Children were rated for levels of involvement (activity) and cooperation. Mothers' child abuse potential scores were inversely associated with their own rate of soliciting/affirming behaviors during the play period. Children of higher-risk mothers displayed higher levels of involvement combined with lower levels of cooperation compared children of lower-risk mothers. Implications for understanding and responding to child physical abuse are discussed.

Keywords: Child Abuse Potential; Child Cooperation/Child Involvement; Maternal Behavior; Play‐Time Interactions

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2004


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