Tested for defensive attributional bias in mothers' causal explanations for infant (2-12.5 months) growth deficiency. Mothers of healthy babies (controls; n = 82), growth deficient babies without medical problems (n = 27) and growth-deficient babies with mild medical problems (n = 22) rated their levels of agreement with 23 causes of growth problems which were designed to vary in the degree of personal threat to parenting self-esteem. Ratings were completed for the mother's (Own) baby and for a nonspecific (Other) baby. Findings partially support a theory of defensive attributional bias, with higher agreement when causes referred to Other (vs. Own) baby, and lower agreement with family-related than with medical/nutritional causes. Factors that may have influenced material experience of threat and implications of the findings for clinical practice are discussed.
- Health beliefs
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology