Resolution of the diagnosis and maternal sensitivity among mothers of children with Intellectual Disability

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We examined mothers' resolution of their children's diagnosis of Intellectual Disability (ID) and its link to maternal sensitivity, and we hypnotized that mothers' who are " resolved" will show more sensitivity during their interactions with their children than " unresolved" mothers. We assessed maternal resolution using the Reaction to Diagnosis Interview and maternal sensitivity in three different play episodes using the Emotional Availability Scales. Our sample included 40 children between the ages of 2.5 and 5.5 with clinical diagnoses of non-syndromic ID and their mothers. Supporting our hypothesis we found that mothers who were resolved regarding the diagnosis of their children showed more maternal sensitivity to their children in two of the three play episodes. Another important finding was that resolution and sensitivity were associated even when we controlled for the child's responsiveness to and involvement with the mother, suggesting that the link between resolution and sensitivity cannot be accounted by the impact of the child's behavior on the mother.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-313
Number of pages8
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grant from The Shalem Fund. The authors would like to extend special thanks to the families and children for participating in the study. We also thank Dr. Smadar Dolev, Dr. Efrat Sher-Censor, Dr. Tirtsa Joels and Dr. Nina Koren-Karie for their help in coding the data.


  • Intellectual Disability
  • Maternal sensitivity
  • Mother-child interaction
  • Reaction to Diagnosis Interview

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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