Over 2 million cases of child maltreatment are reported each year. Of these, child neglect remains the largest single category. The major focus of this project is the clarification of neglect as a construct and its importance in determining child development in multiple domains. The project involves faculty and staff from the University of Notre Dame, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Kansas, and Georgetown University. We plan to identify a representative sample of 560 adolescent mothers (140/site) and 180 adult mothers (45/site) during the last trimester of their pregnancies. The adolescent sample will be recruited from specified geographic catchment areas associated with each locale. The adult sample will provide baseline data concerning patterns of neglect and child development. Measures of prenatal maternal predictors (e.g., substance abuse, depression, cognitive readiness to parent, etc.), neglectful parenting, demographic information, (e.g., education and jobs; marital status; etc.), maternal socioemotional characteristics, and the appropriate and timely use of medical care will be gathered during a 3 year period. Assessments of children's intellectual, linguistic, and socioemotional development will occur at 1, 2, and 3 years of age. A unique methodological feature in this project is the use of a Multi-Method, Multi- Informant approach to study neglect as a construct. The use of cell phones-- 1 of 5 measurement approaches -- allows us to maintain contact with participants as well as gather data on the frequency and nature of contacts between the teens and local service agencies as well as mother-child contacts, the absence of which defines neglect. Pilot data has demonstrated the feasibility, reliability, and utility of this method of assessing parenting. Other measures of neglect include mother-child observations, monitoring nighttime patterns of parenting, self-reports, and professional evaluations. Our objectives are to clarify the meaning of neglect by evaluating and refining a series of assessment tools using multiple assessments; predict neglect through the use of prenatal risk factors (i.e., substance abuse and dependence); document growth and change in both mothers and their children over the first 3 years of life to determine whether different developmental patterns are systematically associated with early maternal neglect; assess the importance of community-based programs in preventing or reducing neglectful behavior; and, finally, test the generality and usefulness of a recently developed conceptual model of adolescent parenting that relates neglect to prenatal antecedent variables and to child outcomes, using structural equation modeling. A refined model of neglect will inform future intervention efforts.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Pediatrics Subcommittee (CHHD)
Program Officer
Chambers, Jessica Campbell
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University of Notre Dame
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Notre Dame
United States
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Patchen, Loral; Lanzi, Robin Gaines (2013) Maternal depression and rapid subsequent pregnancy among first time mothers. MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs 38:215-20
Nuttall, Amy K; Valentino, Kristin; Borkowski, John G (2012) Maternal history of parentification, maternal warm responsiveness, and children's externalizing behavior. J Fam Psychol 26:767-75
Volpe, Lane E; Ball, Helen L; McKenna, James J (2012) Nighttime parenting strategies and sleep-related risks to infants. Soc Sci Med :
Lanzi, Robin Gaines; Ramey, Sharon Landesman; Bert, Shannon Carothers (2012) The parenting responsibility and emotional preparedness (PREP) screening tool: a 3-item screen that identifies teen mothers at high risk for nonoptimal parenting. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 166:749-55
O'Brien, Peggy L; Centers for the Prevention of Child Neglect (2012) Ego-dystonic pregnancy and prenatal consumption of alcohol among first-time mothers. Matern Child Health J 16:1431-9
Waggoner, Miranda R; Lanzi, Robin Gaines; Klerman, Lorraine V (2012) Pregnancy intentions, long-acting contraceptive use, and rapid subsequent pregnancies among adolescent and adult first-time mothers. J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Nurs 25:96-104
Bert, Shannon Carothers; Guner, Bella Mironovna; Lanzi, Robin Gaines et al. (2009) The Influence of Maternal History of Abuse on Parenting Knowledge and Behavior. Fam Relat 58:176-187
Lanzi, Robin Gaines; Bert, Shannon Carothers; Jacobs, Bette Keltner et al. (2009) Depression among a sample of first-time adolescent and adult mothers. J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Nurs 22:194-202
Smith, Leann E; Howard, Kimberly S (2008) Continuity of paternal social support and depressive symptoms among new mothers. J Fam Psychol 22:763-73
Lefever, Jennifer Burke; Howard, Kimberly S; Lanzi, Robin Gaines et al. (2008) Cell phones and the measurement of child neglect: the validity of the parent-child activities interview. Child Maltreat 13:320-33

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