Stover, C. S., Zhou, Y., Leve, L. D., Neiderhiser, J. M., Shaw, D. S., & Reiss, D. (2015). The relationship between genetic attributions, appraisals of birth mothers’ health, and the parenting of adoptive mothers and fathers. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 41, 19–27. PMC: 4547608
Abstract: Parenting beliefs and attributions can influence parenting behavior. We used an adoption design to examine the associations among perinatal risk and poor birth mother health, adoptive parent appraisals of birth mothers’ mental health, and genetic attributions to adoptive parents’ feelings and behaviors toward their adopted infants. A sample of 361 pairs of adoptive parents and birth mothers were interviewed using standardized measures when infants were between 4 and 9 months old. Adoptive mothers and fathers were observed during play tasks when their infants were 9 months old. We found that adoptive mothers’ and fathers’ appraisals of birth mothers’ health were associated with perinatal risk and poor birth mother health. Adoptive mothers’ appraisals were linked to hostile parenting, after accounting for characteristics of the child that may influence her appraisals and attributions. These associations were not present for adoptive fathers. Genetic attributions were associated with both adoptive mother and fathers’ feelings of daily hassles in parenting. Implications for prevention and intervention are discussed.