Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Crouch, Julie L.||Milner, Joel S.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Child abuse--Prevention


The purpose of this research was to examine if parental risk for child physical abuse (CPA) and exposure to aggression cues are independently and additively associated with higher levels of hostile interpretations of ambiguous child behaviors. A total of 196 high- and low-risk for CPA parents with complete and valid protocols participated (108 in the preliminary supraliminal study, 88 in the subliminal study). Participants were randomly assigned to either the hostility priming condition or the neutral priming condition, and were exposed to hostile/neutral cues using well-established supraliminal and subliminal priming procedures. Following the priming procedures, participants were asked to rate pictures presenting ambiguous child behaviors. As predicted, high-risk, compared to low-risk, for CPA parents rated ambiguous pictures as more hostile. Also as expected, parents in the hostile, versus neutral, priming condition rated ambiguous child pictures as more hostile. The combined influence of CPA risk status and priming condition produced an additive effect, so that high-risk parents in the hostile priming condition reported the highest mean hostility ratings.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [51]-59).


114 pages (some color pages)




Northern Illinois University

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