Abstract # 4236 Poster # 71:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2012 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 9 (Gardenia) Poster Presentation


THE DEVELOPMENT OF A RATING SCALE INSTRUMENT TO MEASURE GLOBAL DIMENSIONS OF MATERNAL CARE IN RHESUS MACAQUES (MACACA MULATTA)

K. McCormack1,2, B. Howell2,3, K. Pears4, H. Kim4, M. Gunnar5 and M. M. Sanchez2,3
1Department of Psychology, Spelman College, 350 Spelman Lane, Box 209, Atlanta, GA 30314, USA, 2Yerkes National Primate Center, Emory University, 3Dept. of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Emory University, 4Oregon Social Learning Center, 5Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota
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     Evidence from many species demonstrates that the quality of the mother-infant relationship is crucial for understanding offspring development. Many of the techniques used to code non-human primate behavior rely on the collection of individual occurrence behaviors, and do not capture the dynamic nature of the mother-infant relationship. In this study, we developed a 22-item global rating scale of the quality of maternal care which was modeled on the Maternal Q-sort for macaques and the Free Play and Clean-Up task for children. Experienced observers watched 25 mother-infant pairs (15 with abusive/rejecting mothers, 10 controls) during the first 3 months of life, for a total of 32 thirty minute observations on each pair, and completed the rating scales after each observation. Factor analyses revealed four maternal behavior factors: responsiveness, irritability, protectiveness, and permissiveness. Cronbach alpha’s were all .60 or higher, demonstrating high inter-item reliability. The PCA revealed acceptable factor loadings for all of the indicators (.30 or higher). RM-ANOVA’s indicated that abusive mothers were more irritable, and less responsive, protective, and permissive than the control mothers (p<.01). These findings suggest that our scale is capturing more global aspects of the mother-infant relationship, and that it may be used to detect differences in maternal care between abusive and non-abusive animals, which may not be detectable via the collection of individual behaviors. Support: NIH grants:P50-MH-078105, NRSA grant:MH086203(BRH), RR00165(YNPRC)