Psychological Medicine


Research Article

The development of a refined measure of dysfunctional parenting and assessment of its relevance in patients with affective disorders


G. PARKER a1 , J. ROUSSOS a1 , D. HADZI-PAVLOVIC a1 , P. MITCHELL a1 , K. WILHELM a1 and M.-P. AUSTIN a1
a1 From the Mood Disorders Unit, Prince Henry Hospital, and School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Abstract

Background. The Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI) measures fundamental parenting dimensions (care and over-protection), but does not directly assess abusive parenting.

Methods. We describe the development of the Measure of Parenting Style (the MOPS), comprising refined PBI scales assessing parental indifference and over-control, as well as a scale assessing parental abuse.

Results. We examine psychometric properties of the MOPS, while several analyses build to the concurrent validity of the abuse scale as an experiential measure. We examine the extent to which both the PBI and the MOPS scales showed specificity of dysfunctional parenting to the non-melancholic depressive subtype, and across a range of anxiety disorders. Non-melancholic depressed patients returned anomalous parenting scale scores (compared to melancholic subjects), but only when such subtyping decisions were clinician-generated. Those receiving DSM-III-R lifetime anxiety diagnoses of panic disorder and of social phobia returned higher PBI protection and MOPS over-control scores than non-anxious subjects, while differences were not established for those with generalized anxiety disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder.

Conclusions. We consider the likely utility of the MOPS scale and note the module capacity of separate MOPS and PBI scales, which allow a set of options for assessing perceived parenting characteristics.


Correspondence:

Address for correspondence: Professor Gordon Parker, Psychiatry Unit, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, Sydney, NSW 2031, Australia.



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