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Association of Maternal Developmental Disorder Traits With Child Mistreatment: A Prospective Study in Japan

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 38 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2014 Pages: 1283-1289
Takeo Fujiwara; Mari Kasahara; Hiromi Tsujii; Makiko Okuyama
Date Published
7 pages
This Japanese study examined maternal traits related to Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) for their possible association with child mistreatment, which includes physical abuse and failure by parents to provide physical care for the child, such as nutritional neglect, poor supervision, and inattention to cleanliness.
The study found that maternal PDD and ADHD traits assessed during pregnancy were positively and significantly associated with child mistreatment. The presence of PDD traits was independent of child maltreatment due to ADHD traits. Although the mechanism of how developmental disorder traits are linked to child mistreatment is not known, it is likely that mothers with ADHD traits are unable to sustain a level of attention to child care that ensures the safety of their children; many neglect their children whenever the urge to pursue desired activities occurs. Also, mothers with PDD tend to be inflexible and stick to specific routines. Further research is required in order to link PDD characteristics to mothers' child mistreatment behaviors. At the National Center for Child Health and Development, pregnant women in their second trimester were recruited between January 5, 2009 and September 30 2010. A total of 1,471 valid questionnaires were collected. In December 2011, when the children were approximately 10-32 months old, a questionnaire on child mistreatment was mailed to the mother. A total of 892 mothers returned the questionnaire (60.2 percent response rate). Of these, 846 responses were valid. Participants completed the Pervasive Developmental Disorders Autism Society Japan Rating Scale (PARS) and Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS). Study limitations are noted. 4 tables, 32 references, and appended items on the child mistreatment questionnaire