Abstract

Prior research indicates links between parents' experiences of interpersonal trauma and emotion-interpretation difficulties, and between such difficulties and child attachment insecurity and disorganization. Although mothers with mild levels of intellectual disability (ID) are at heightened risk for trauma and emotion-interpretation difficulties, and their children for attachment insecurity, corresponding links in this population have not been examined. We therefore investigated emotional interpretations among mothers with mild levels of ID (n = 23) and matched comparison mothers without ID (n = 25), in relation to mothers' experiences of trauma and their children's attachment representations. Mothers with mild levels of ID were not less accurate than comparison mothers with regard to general positive and negative emotion-interpretation accuracy, but they were significantly more likely to misinterpret shame and anger. Among mothers with mild levels of ID, misinterpretations of shame were positively related to maternal experiences of trauma, and to child attachment insecurity and disorganization.

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