Predictors of representational aggression in preschool children of low-income Urban African American adolescent mothers

Geoff Goodman, J. Lawrence Aber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Responses to five doll-story stems thematically related to attachment experiences with the mother were videotaped in the home and used to evaluate child, maternal, and environmental predictors of representational aggression in 93 preschool children of African American women receiving public assistance who had become pregnant as teenagers. Significant correlations were found between representational aggression and child's gender (male), birth weight, maternal depressive affect, maternal educational attainment, recent employment, mother's historical residence with her own mother, and felt social support, accounting for 40% of the variance in representational aggression. A significant Felt Social Support × Gender interaction effect suggested that girls of mothers who perceive higher levels of felt social support are more likely to represent less aggression in their stories; felt social support was not associated with boys' representational aggression. A significant Felt Social Support × Employment interaction effect suggested that representational aggression is associated with lower levels of felt social support only among employed mothers. Findings suggest that different pathways exist for representational aggression in children of low-income adolescent mothers, which nevertheless share predictors associated with poverty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-57
Number of pages25
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010

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Preschool Children
Aggression
African Americans
Mothers
Social Support
Public Assistance
Poverty
Birth Weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

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abstract = "Responses to five doll-story stems thematically related to attachment experiences with the mother were videotaped in the home and used to evaluate child, maternal, and environmental predictors of representational aggression in 93 preschool children of African American women receiving public assistance who had become pregnant as teenagers. Significant correlations were found between representational aggression and child's gender (male), birth weight, maternal depressive affect, maternal educational attainment, recent employment, mother's historical residence with her own mother, and felt social support, accounting for 40{\%} of the variance in representational aggression. A significant Felt Social Support × Gender interaction effect suggested that girls of mothers who perceive higher levels of felt social support are more likely to represent less aggression in their stories; felt social support was not associated with boys' representational aggression. A significant Felt Social Support × Employment interaction effect suggested that representational aggression is associated with lower levels of felt social support only among employed mothers. Findings suggest that different pathways exist for representational aggression in children of low-income adolescent mothers, which nevertheless share predictors associated with poverty.",
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