A Comparison of Abused Children and Their Nonabused Siblings

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Abstract

We compared 295 targets of abuse to 284 nonabused siblings with reference to birth record data and maternal perceptions of the birth and subsequent development of the child. Prematurity; Apgar scores: age of mother at child's birth; self-reports of postpartum depression; maternal perceptions of emotional difficulties of the child, of the child's ability to be influenced by the mother, and of negative characteristics of the child reminiscent of others were related to certain types of abuse and gross neglect. Explanatory hypotheses include weakened attachment bonds and maternal projection of negative attributes and feelings of helplessness.

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