Assessing Mothers’ Automatic Affective and Discipline Reactions to Child Behavior in Relation to Child Abuse Risk: A Dual-Processing Investigation

Academic Article


  • Given the scope and adverse clinical consequences of child abuse, assessment of salient etiological factors can lend critical insights needed for abuse prevention. Increasingly, dual-processing models have been applied to aggression, which postulate that parallel automatic and conscious processes can evoke aggressive behavior, implicating both affective and cognitive elements in both routes. Using two samples of mothers (n = 110 and n = 195), the current investigation considered evidence of the reliability and convergent, concurrent, and construct validity of the new Automatic Parent Emotion Analog Response task relevant to parent–child aggression, contrasted with a self-reported conscious processing measure. Findings provide evidence that affective reactions of both anger and worry relate to child abuse risk and inclination to respond aggressively, and demonstrate how mothers’ automatic reactions relate to both perceived child misbehavior and child dangerous behavior. Current results lend psychometric support for automatic processing in parent–child aggression consistent with other dual-processing theories of aggression.
  • Published In

  • Assessment  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 3752406
  • Author List

  • Rodriguez CM; Silvia PJ; Lee SJ; Grogan-Kaylor A