University of Louisville

Poster Title

Maternal Anxiety and Its Relationship to Scaffolding Behaviors in a Parent-child Task: A Study of Low-income Families.

Institution

University of Louisville

Abstract

We examined the impact of maternal anxiety on maternal scaffolding behaviors and children’s subsequent development of attention regulation. Maternal mental health is considered a risk factor for children, as mental illness affects the type of interaction between parent and child. Mental health problems in the mother have been linked with less responsiveness toward the child and a more insecure attachment. Research has shown that anxiety disorders have an impact on the development of attention in children and in adults. This issue of mental health is even more imperative to this community, due to the elevated risk of anxiety and depression in people living in poverty. Furthermore, previous research has shown that poverty is a risk factor for children’s growth and is also a risk factor for good parenting techniques. Seventy-four 4- and 5- year-old children and their mothers, enrolled in local Head Start Programs participated in this study. Children completed a puzzle-matching task with their mothers and independently. Also, mothers completed a Beck Anxiety Inventory. Parent-child interactions from the puzzle-matching task were videotaped and will be coded to identify the type of scaffolding behaviors employed by the mothers. The goal of this study is to determine how maternal anxiety influences the nature of parent-child interactions in impoverished families. We expect to find that mothers with elevated levels of anxiety instruct children differently in the parent-child puzzle matching task. These findings will shed some light on the development of new intervention methods to supports successful mother-child interaction in cognitive tasks in low-income families.

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Maternal Anxiety and Its Relationship to Scaffolding Behaviors in a Parent-child Task: A Study of Low-income Families.

We examined the impact of maternal anxiety on maternal scaffolding behaviors and children’s subsequent development of attention regulation. Maternal mental health is considered a risk factor for children, as mental illness affects the type of interaction between parent and child. Mental health problems in the mother have been linked with less responsiveness toward the child and a more insecure attachment. Research has shown that anxiety disorders have an impact on the development of attention in children and in adults. This issue of mental health is even more imperative to this community, due to the elevated risk of anxiety and depression in people living in poverty. Furthermore, previous research has shown that poverty is a risk factor for children’s growth and is also a risk factor for good parenting techniques. Seventy-four 4- and 5- year-old children and their mothers, enrolled in local Head Start Programs participated in this study. Children completed a puzzle-matching task with their mothers and independently. Also, mothers completed a Beck Anxiety Inventory. Parent-child interactions from the puzzle-matching task were videotaped and will be coded to identify the type of scaffolding behaviors employed by the mothers. The goal of this study is to determine how maternal anxiety influences the nature of parent-child interactions in impoverished families. We expect to find that mothers with elevated levels of anxiety instruct children differently in the parent-child puzzle matching task. These findings will shed some light on the development of new intervention methods to supports successful mother-child interaction in cognitive tasks in low-income families.