This investigation examined relations among perceptions of mothers, attributional style, and counselorrated behavior problems in 187 school age children (88 maltreated, 99 nonmaltreated). Hypotheses regarding the presence of higher levels of internalizing and externalizing behavior problems in maltreated children were confirmed. Attributional style was found to function as a moderator of externalizing behavior problems, suggesting that attributional style exerts a protective role against the harmful effect of child maltreatment. Perceptions of mothers were found to operate as a mediator of both internalizing and externalizing symptomatology, with maltreated children with less positive perceptions of their mothers exhibiting greater internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. These findings advance knowledge of how cognitive processes contribute to behavior problems in maltreated children and possess implications for prevention and intervention efforts.
- Attributional style