Stigma and Parenting Children Conceived From Sexual Violence.
ABSTRACT: Since armed conflict began in 1996, widespread sexual violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has resulted in many sexual violence-related pregnancies (SVRPs). However, there are limited data on the relationships between mothers and their children from sexual violence. This study aimed to evaluate the nature and determinants of these maternal-child relationships.Using respondent-driven sampling, 757 women raising children from SVRPs in South Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo were interviewed. A parenting index was created from questions assessing the maternal-child relationship. The influences of social stigma, family and community acceptance, and maternal mental health on the parenting index were assessed in univariate and multivariable analyses.The majority of mothers reported positive attitudes toward their children from SVRPs. Prevalence of perceived family or community stigma toward the women or their children ranged from 31.8% to 42.9%, and prevalence of perceived family or community acceptance ranged from 45.2% to 73.5%. In multivariable analyses, stigma toward the child, as well as maternal anxiety and depression, were associated with lower parenting indexes, whereas acceptance of the mother or child and presence of a spouse were associated with higher parenting indexes (all P ? .01).In this study with a large sample size, stigma and mental health disorders negatively influenced parenting attitudes, whereas family and community acceptance were associated with adaptive parenting attitudes. Interventions to reduce stigmatization, augment acceptance, and improve maternal mental health may improve the long-term well-being of mothers and children from SVRPs.
Project description:Prior research has shown that mothers with Interpersonal violence-related posttraumatic stress disorder (IPV-PTSD) report greater difficulty in parenting their toddlers. Relative to their frequent early exposure to violence and maltreatment, these mothers display dysregulation of their hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA-axis), characterized by hypocortisolism. Considering methylation of the promoter region of the glucocorticoid receptor gene NR3C1 as a marker for HPA-axis functioning, with less methylation likely being associated with less circulating cortisol, the present study tested the hypothesis that the degree of methylation of this gene would be negatively correlated with maternal IPV-PTSD severity and parenting stress, and positively correlated with medial prefrontal cortical (mPFC) activity in response to video-stimuli of stressful versus non-stressful mother-child interactions. Following a mental health assessment, 45 mothers and their children (ages 12-42 months) participated in a behavioral protocol involving free-play and laboratory stressors such as mother-child separation. Maternal DNA was extracted from saliva. Interactive behavior was rated on the CARE-Index. During subsequent fMRI scanning, mothers were shown films of free-play and separation drawn from this protocol. Maternal PTSD severity and parenting stress were negatively correlated with the mean percentage of methylation of NR3C1. Maternal mPFC activity in response to video-stimuli of mother-child separation versus play correlated positively to NR3C1 methylation, and negatively to maternal IPV-PTSD and parenting stress. Among interactive behavior variables, child cooperativeness in play was positively correlated with NR3C1 methylation. Thus, the present study is the first published report to our knowledge, suggesting convergence of behavioral, epigenetic, and neuroimaging data that form a psychobiological signature of parenting-risk in the context of early life stress and PTSD.
Project description:Promoting children's prosocial behavior is a goal for parents, healthcare professionals, and nations. Does positive parenting promote later child prosocial behavior, or do children who are more prosocial elicit more positive parenting later, or both? Relations between parenting and prosocial behavior have to date been studied only in a narrow band of countries, mostly with mothers and not fathers, and child gender has infrequently been explored as a moderator of parenting-prosocial relations. This cross-national study uses 1,178 families (mothers, fathers, and children) from 9 countries to explore developmental transactions between parental acceptance-rejection and girls' and boys' prosocial behavior across 3 waves (child ages 9 to 12). Controlling for stability across waves, within-wave relations, and parental age and education, higher parental acceptance predicted increased child prosocial behavior from age 9 to 10 and from age 10 to 12. Higher age 9 child prosocial behavior also predicted increased parental acceptance from age 9 to 10. These transactional paths were invariant across 9 countries, mothers and fathers, and girls and boys. Parental acceptance increases child prosocial behaviors later, but child prosocial behaviors are not effective at increasing parental acceptance in the transition to adolescence. This study identifies widely applicable socialization processes across countries, mothers and fathers, and girls and boys. (PsycINFO Database Record
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Intimate partner violence detrimentally affects the social and emotional well-being of children and mothers. These two populations are impacted both individually and within the context of their relationship with one another. Child mental health, maternal mental health and the mother-child relationship may be impaired as a consequence. Early intervention to prevent or arrest impaired mother-child attachment and child development is needed. Dyadic or relational mental health interventions that include mothers with their children, such as child-parent psychotherapy, are effective in improving the mental health of both children and mothers and also strengthening their relationship. While child-parent psychotherapy has been trialled overseas in several populations, Australian research on relational interventions for children and women recovering from violence is limited. This study aims to assess the acceptability and feasibility of implementing child-parent psychotherapy in Australian families. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:Using a mixed methods, prepost design this feasibility study will examine the acceptability of the intervention to women with preschool aged children (3-5 years, n=15 dyads) and providers, and identify process issues including recruitment, retention and barriers to implementation and sustainability. In addition, intervention efficacy will be assessed using maternal and child health outcomes and functioning, and mother-child attachment measures. Young children's mental health needs are underserviced in Australia. More research is needed to fully understand parenting in the context of intimate partner violence and what works to help women and children recover. If the intervention is found to be feasible, findings will inform future trials and expansion of child-parent psychotherapy in Australia. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:Ethics approval obtained from clinical sites and the La Trobe University Human Research Ethics Committee (ID: HEC17-108). Results will be disseminated through conference proceedings and academic publications.
Project description:Socio-emotional information processing during everyday human interactions has been assumed to translate to social-emotional information processing when parenting a child. Yet, few studies have examined whether this is indeed the case. This study aimed to improve on this by connecting the functional neuroimaging data when seeing socio-emotional interactions that are not parenting specific to observed maternal sensitivity. The current study considered 45 mothers of small children (12-42 months of age). It included healthy controls (HC) and mothers with interpersonal violence-related posttraumatic stress disorder (IPV-PTSD), as well as mothers without PTSD, both with and without IPV exposure. We found that anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) activity correlated negatively with observed maternal sensitivity when mothers watched videos of menacing vs. prosocial adult male-female interactions. This relationship was independent of whether mothers were HC or had IPV-PTSD. We also found dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) activity to be correlated negatively with maternal sensitivity when mothers watched any kind of arousing adult interactions. With regards to ACC and vmPFC activity, we interpret our results to mean that the ease of general emotional information integration translates to parenting-specific behavior. Our dlPFC activity findings support the idea that the efficiency of top-down control of socio-emotional processing in non-parenting specific contexts may be predictive of parenting behavior.
Project description:BackgroundAutism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental difference and disability, yet there is limited research examining parenting in autistic mothers.ObjectiveTo explore autistic mothers’ experience of the perinatal period and parenthood. This includes pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period, self-perception of parenting strengths and weaknesses, communication with professionals in relation to one’s child, mental health difficulties and the social experience of motherhood. It also includes disclosing one’s diagnosis of autism in parenting contexts.MethodsWe used a community-based participatory research model, and recruited an advisory panel, with whom we co-developed an anonymous, online survey for autistic mothers. The online survey was completed by autistic and non-autistic mothers, and we compared their responses using Chi-squared analysis.SampleAutistic mothers (n = 355), and non-autistic mothers (n = 132), each of whom had at least one autistic child, were included in our final analysis.ResultsThere were differences in education, gender identity and age of mother at birth of first child. Autistic mothers were more likely to have experienced additional psychiatric conditions, including pre- or post-partum depression, and reported greater difficulties in areas such as multi-tasking, coping with domestic responsibilities and creating social opportunities for their child. They were also more likely to report feeling misunderstood by professionals, and reported greater anxiety, higher rates of selective mutism, and not knowing which details were appropriate to share with professionals. They were also more likely to find motherhood an isolating experience, to worry about others judging their parenting, or feel unable to turn to others for support in parenting. However, despite these challenges, autistic mothers were able to act in the best interest of their child, putting their child’s needs first.ConclusionsAutistic mothers face unique challenges and the stigma associated with autism may further exacerbate communication difficulties. Greater understanding and acceptance amongst individuals who interact with autistic mothers is needed, and autistic mothers would benefit from additional and better-tailored support.
Project description:A key mechanism of risk transmission between maternal risk and child outcomes are the mother's representations. The current study examined the effects of an attachment-based, trauma-informed parenting intervention, the Mom Power (MP) program, in optimizing maternal representations of high-risk mothers utilizing a randomized, controlled trial design (NCT01554215). High-risk mothers were recruited from low-income community locations and randomized to either the MP Intervention (n?=?42) or a control condition (n?=?33) in a parallel design. Maternal representations were assessed before and after the intervention using the Working Model of the Child Interview. The proportion of women with balanced (secure) representations increased in the MP group but not in the control group. Parenting Reflectivity for mothers in the treatment group significantly increased, with no change in the control condition. Participation in the MP program was associated with improvements in a key indicator of the security of the parent-child relationship: mothers' representations of their children.
Project description:Although home visiting programs have been documented to improve parenting in high-risk families, their effectiveness is diminished when parents disengage from programs. Cellular phones offer an approach to promoting parent engagement and enhancing parenting outcomes. Our objective was to examine whether mothers in a parenting intervention, Planned Activities Training (PAT), or cellular phone-enhanced version (CPAT) of the intervention would demonstrate greater use of parenting strategies after treatment and at 6 months post-treatment compared with a wait-list control (WLC).A sample of 371 low-income mothers and their 3.5- to 5.5-year-old children were randomly assigned to condition and assessed at pre-test, post-intervention, and 6 months post-intervention. Treatment efficacy was evaluated through observations of mother-child interactions as well as maternal interviews about depression, parenting stress, and child behaviors.Mothers receiving PAT and CPAT demonstrated more frequent use of parenting strategies and engaged in more responsive parenting than mothers in the WLC. Mothers receiving CPAT used more PAT parenting strategies than mothers in the other 2 groups and experienced greater reductions in depression and stress. Children of mothers receiving PAT and CPAT demonstrated higher rates of positive engagement, and children of CPAT mothers demonstrated higher levels of adaptive behaviors than children in the WLC. Importantly, changes in parenting, depression, and stress predicted positive child behaviors.PAT and CPAT conditions improved parenting strategies and child engagement and reduced children's challenging behaviors. The addition of cellular phones to a home visiting program enhanced maternal responsivity and reduced depression and stress.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The increasing prevalence of excessive screen time (ST) among children is a growing public health concern, with evidence linking it to an increased risk of overweight and obesity among children. OBJECTIVE:This study aimed to explore the beliefs, attitudes, and practices of Brazilian immigrant mothers living in the United States related to their preschool-age children's ST behaviors. METHODS:A qualitative study comprising 7 focus group discussions (FGDs) was conducted with Brazilian immigrant mothers living in the United States. All FGDs were audio-recorded and professionally transcribed verbatim. The Portuguese transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis. RESULTS:In total, 37 women participated in the FGDs. Analyses revealed that although most mothers expressed concerns for their preschool-age children's ST, nearly all viewed ST as an acceptable part of their children's daily lives. Furthermore, mothers perceived that ST has more benefits than disadvantages. The mothers' positive beliefs about (eg, educational purposes and entertainment) and perceived functional benefits of ST (eg, ability to keep children occupied so tasks can be completed and facilitation of communication with family outside the United States) contributed to their acceptance of ST for their preschool-age children. Nevertheless, most mothers spoke of needing to balance their preschool-age children's ST with other activities. Mothers reported using several parenting practices including monitoring time and content, setting limits and having rules, and prompting their children to participate in other activities to manage their preschool-age children's ST. CONCLUSIONS:This study provides new information on the beliefs, attitudes, and practices of Brazilian immigrant mothers living in the United States related to their preschool-age children's ST. Study findings revealed several potentially modifiable maternal beliefs and parenting practices that may provide important targets for parenting- and family-based interventions aimed at limiting preschool-age children's ST.
Project description:Problems in mother-child relationships are thought to be key to intergenerational transmission of depression. To evaluate neural and behavioral processes involved in these pathways, we tested effects of maternal depression and maternal-child relationship quality in early childhood on neural and interviewer-based indicators of social processes in adolescence. At age 3, children and mothers (N=332) completed an observational parenting measure and diagnostic interviews with mothers. At age 12, adolescents completed a task in which event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded to peer acceptance and rejection feedback and interviews to assess peer stress. Lower mother-child relationship quality at age 3 was associated with enhanced reactivity to rejection, as measured by N1, and greater peer stress at age 12. Indirect effects of maternal depression through mother-child relationship quality were observed for N1 and peer stress. Findings inform understanding of disruptions in social functioning that are likely relevant to the intergenerational transmission of depression.
Project description:It is known that increased circulating glucocorticoids in the wake of excessive, chronic, repetitive stress increases anxiety and impairs Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) signaling. Recent studies of BDNF gene methylation in relation to maternal care have linked high BDNF methylation levels in the blood of adults to lower quality of received maternal care measured via self-report. Yet the specific mechanisms by which these phenomena occur remain to be established. The present study examines the link between methylation of the BDNF gene promoter region and patterns of neural activity that are associated with maternal response to stressful versus non-stressful child stimuli within a sample that includes mothers with interpersonal violence-related PTSD (IPV-PTSD). 46 mothers underwent fMRI. The contrast of neural activity when watching children-including their own-was then correlated to BDNF methylation. Consistent with the existing literature, the present study found that maternal BDNF methylation was associated with higher levels of maternal anxiety and greater childhood exposure to domestic violence. fMRI results showed a positive correlation of BDNF methylation with maternal brain activity in the anterior cingulate (ACC), and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), regions generally credited with a regulatory function toward brain areas that are generating emotions. Furthermore we found a negative correlation of BDNF methylation with the activity of the right hippocampus. Since our stimuli focus on stressful parenting conditions, these data suggest that the correlation between vmPFC/ACC activity and BDNF methylation may be linked to mothers who are at a disadvantage with respect to emotion regulation when facing stressful parenting situations. Overall, this study provides evidence that epigenetic signatures of stress-related genes can be linked to functional brain regions regulating parenting stress, thus advancing our understanding of mothers at risk for stress-related psychopathology.