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This research examined what may be the earliest link in the chain of violence, the prenatal and perinatal developmental period, with mothers who experienced violence during their pregnancies. One hundred and sixty-eight mothers reporting abuse and their newborn infants from a sample of 1,226 women recruited in the Boston City Hospital Maternal Health Habits Project were studied. The results revealed that the newborns of Caucasian mothers had an increase in the level of behavioral problems of crying, hyperactivity, central nervous system depression and respiratory distress though not significantly. For Black and Hispanic mothers there were less baby problems with self-reported abuse. Several explanations for these findings are offered.


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1 Bobbi Jo Lyman, Ph.D.

1 This paper is based on a presentation made at the 13th Congress of the International Society of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine in Cagliari, Italy (Summer 2000). Bobbi Jo Lyman, Ph.D. may be reached at 3202 Pine Road, Bremerton, Washington 98319. Phone: (306) 479-4147 Fax: (360) 479-01497 email:

JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child.

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