ERIC Number: ED317298
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Apr
Caregiver Beliefs and Acoustical Signs of Stress in Speech.
This study investigated the way in which parental beliefs moderate affective reactions to children at risk for abuse. A sample of 40 unrelated mothers was drawn from a larger research project. At-risk and not-at-risk children were recruited from 40 families participating in counseling at a local child abuse agency. At-risk status was determined through: (1) difficulty ratings reported by mothers; and (2) amount and severity of discipline received, as measured by Straus, Gelles, and Steinmetz's (1980) Conflicts Tactics Scale. The Parental Attribution Test was used to assess parental beliefs concerning causes of caregiving outcomes. Unrelated mothers were asked to interact with children from the families receiving counseling for child abuse. Each mother interacted with two siblings, one of whom was rated as being at greater risk for child abuse. Matched speech segments from the interactions between mother and child were acoustically analyzed in terms of the speaker's fundamental frequency, pitch perturbation, and acoustic quality. Analysis revealed that speech from "powerless" mothers was characterized by significantly more stress, especially when the message was directed to children at relatively greater risk for abuse. It is argued that differences in the mother's speech quality are signs of perceived stress and will ultimately contribute to ineffective communication patterns. (RH)
Descriptors: Affective Behavior, At Risk Persons, Attribution Theory, Beliefs, Child Abuse, Child Caregivers, Children, Communication Research, Comparative Analysis, Etiology, Family Problems, Language Patterns, Mothers, Parent Attitudes, Parent Child Relationship, Parent Influence, Stress (Phonology)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Psychological Association (70th, Los Angeles, CA, April 26-29, 1990).