Narrative Representations of Moral - Affiliative and Conflictual Themes and Behavioral Problems in Maltreated Preschoolers

Sheree L. Toth, Dante Cicchetti, Jenny Macfie, Fred A. Rogosch, Angelina Maughan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Examined whether maltreated preschoolers are more likely than nonmaltreated preschoolers to have fewer moral - affiliative and more conflictual narrative representations and whether these representations mediate child behavior problems. A structured narrative story-telling task was administered to assess representations, and independent ratings of behavior problems were obtained from teachers. The narratives of maltreated children contained more conflictual and fewer moral - affiliative themes. Maltreated children also exhibited more internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. A partial mediation effect of conflictual representations on the relation between child maltreatment and externalizing behavior problems was found. The results demonstrate the relation between child maltreatment and children's organization of their life experiences and their behavioral symptomatology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-318
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


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