This paper describes the rationale, procedures, and initial validation of an instrument which assesses distal environmental factors thought to negatively influence maternal caregiving ability. A sample of 36 lower class, single, black mothers (ranging in age from 14 to 19 years) of first born, full‐term infants were included in an educational intervention program carried out during infants' first 12 months of life. The development of the maternal risk score (MRS) instrument was centered around four areas: maturity of mother, degree of planning of the mother, family support system and level of poverty. Initial, Year 1, Year 2, and Year 3 MRS scores were compared with infant development at one and two years as measured by the Bayley Scales, and at three years with the McCarthy Scales, using Pearson product‐moment correlations. The initial MRS correlated negatively with the Bayley Mental Development Index (MDI) at Year 1 and also at Year 2 (N=−.38 and −.40 respectively, both significant at p<.05). The MRS for Year 1 showed significant negative correlations with the two Bayley MDIs: two and three year MRS scores were significantly related to three year McCarthy test scores. This screening instrument, which assesses qualitative aspects of the caretaking environment, appears to be a promising approach for identifying lower class mothers of infants who might be at risk for developmental disabilities.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Infant Mental Health Journal|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 1981|