The relationship between genetic attributions, appraisals of birth mothers' health, and the parenting of adoptive mothers and fathers

Carla Smith Stover, Yuchun Zhou, Leslie D. Leve, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, Daniel S. Shaw, David Reiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Parenting beliefs and attributions can influence parenting behavior. We used an adoption design to examine the associations among perinatal risk and poor birth mother health, adoptive parent appraisals of birth mothers' mental health, and genetic attributions to adoptive parents' feelings and behaviors toward their adopted infants. A sample of 361 pairs of adoptive parents and birth mothers were interviewed using standardized measures when infants were between 4 and 9. months old. Adoptive mothers and fathers were observed during play tasks when their infants were 9. months old. We found that adoptive mothers' and fathers' appraisals of birth mothers' health were associated with perinatal risk and poor birth mother health. Adoptive mothers' appraisals were linked to hostile parenting, after accounting for characteristics of the child that may influence her appraisals and attributions. These associations were not present for adoptive fathers. Genetic attributions were associated with both adoptive mother and fathers' feelings of daily hassles in parenting. These findings have implications for prevention and intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Volume41
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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