Mothers’ Attributions About Child Misbehavior: Can Situational Suggestions Change General Perceptions?

Jennifer L. Butcher, Larissa N. Niec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mothers’ attributions about children’s misbehavior were experimentally manipulated to examine causal relationships among attributions, mood, and behavior and assess whether suggestion can change mothers’ general perceptions. Forty mothers of children aged 33 to 71 months were primed with dysfunctional child-referent (child responsible) or environment-referent (situation caused) attributions before a parent-child interaction. Mothers in the dysfunctional child-referent condition placed greater responsibility on children, reported less positive mood and endorsed more overly reactive discipline, and their children displayed more negative mood and misbehavior. The experimental manipulation also affected mothers’ general child attributions. Understanding how attributions form and change has implications for parenting interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-147
Number of pages17
JournalChild and Family Behavior Therapy
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 3 2017

Keywords

  • Attributions
  • behavior
  • cognitions
  • parenting
  • priming
  • responsibility

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