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Mothers' representations of relationships with their children: relations with mother characteristics and feeding sensitivity

Mothers' representations of relationships with their children: relations with mother characteristics and feeding sensitivity

Journal of Pediatric Psychology 26(6): 375-384

To examine parenting representations and feeding interactions of mothers and their children with cerebral palsy (CP) and the extent to which mothers' representations predict their feeding behavior beyond other mother and child characteristics. Fifty-eight mothers of children with mild to severe CP ages 16 to 52 months were interviewed with an adapted form of the Parent Development Interview (PDI). Correlation and regression analyses examined relations between representations (compliance with parental requests, achievement, secure base, enmeshment, worry about the child's future, and emotional pain), demographic characteristics, diagnostic severity, and developmental status. Mothers with more compliance-related concerns showed less sensitivity, acceptance, and delight during feeding. Mothers experiencing more emotional pain displayed more hostility. Mothers reporting worries about the child displayed sensitivity and delight. Representations of compliance-related experiences and worry about the child's future accounted for significant increments in explained variance in mothers' feeding behavior, after we controlled for children's skills and abilities. Findings suggest maternal representations of relationships are associated with caregiving behavior for mothers of children with CP apart from other child and maternal characteristics and may be a useful focus for research and practice related to parenting children with special needs.

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Accession: 046731679

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 11490040

DOI: 10.1093/jpepsy/26.6.375

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