This study examined relations among mothers' discourse about experiences in their families of origin and with child protective services (CPS), attachment-related and current risk factors, and the quality of mothers' parenting behavior with their young children during supervised visits. Twenty-nine 2- to 6-year-old children in foster care and their biological mothers participated. Clinical interviews with mothers assessed the quality of maternal discourse and the presence of risk factors. Videotaped observations of visits between mothers and their children assessed parenting behaviors. Results revealed that mothers who discussed their experiences in a coherent and flexible manner and expressed affection for their children in their discourse were more supportive of their children's socioemotional functioning during visits. Moreover, in addition to current risk factors such as substance abuse and mental illness, mothers' experience of attachment-related risk factors in childhood or adolescence was particularly important for understanding the quality of their discourse and parenting behavior.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was funded by a grant from the Children and Family Research Center, a collaboration between the University of Illinois School of Social Work and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Portions of this paper were presented at the 2005 National Council on Family Relations Conference, Phoenix, Arizona.
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- Foster care
- Parent visitation