Child Abuse and Neglect
The Social Information Processing (SIP) model postulates that parents undergo a series of stages in implementing physical discipline that can escalate into physical child abuse. The current study utilized a multimethod approach to investigate whether SIP factors can predict risk of parent–child aggression (PCA) in a diverse sample of expectant mothers and fathers. SIP factors of PCA attitudes, negative child attributions, reactivity, and empathy were considered as potential predictors of PCA risk; additionally, analyses considered whether personal history of PCA predicted participants’ own PCA risk through its influence on their attitudes and attributions. Findings indicate that, for both mothers and fathers, history influenced attitudes but not attributions in predicting PCA risk, and attitudes and attributions predicted PCA risk; empathy and reactivity predicted negative child attributions for expectant mothers, but only reactivity significantly predicted attributions for expectant fathers. Path models for expectant mothers and fathers were remarkably similar. Overall, the findings provide support for major aspects of the SIP model. Continued work is needed in studying the progression of these factors across time for both mothers and fathers as well as the inclusion of other relevant ecological factors to the SIP model. (Author abstract)
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