Maternal Childhood Sexual Trauma, Child Directed Aggression, Parenting Behavior, and the Moderating Role of Child Sex
Using propensity-matched controls, the present study examines the associations between maternal report of child-directed aggression and observed parenting behavior across early childhood for women with and without childhood sexual trauma histories. The moderating role of child sex was also examined. The sample (N = 204) is from a longitudinal study of rural poverty exploring the ways in which child, family, and contextual factors shape development over time. After controlling for numerous factors including child and primary caregiver covariates, findings reveal that childhood sexual trauma is related to sensitive parenting behavior and child-directed aggression. Findings further revealed that child sex moderates the relation between sexual trauma history and maternal behavior towards children. Implications for interventions for mothers with childhood sexual trauma histories and directions for future study are proposed.
KeywordsChildhood sexual trauma Child-directed aggression Sensitive parenting Harsh Intrusive parenting Propensity matched design
The Family Life Project (FLP) Key Investigators include Lynne Vernon Feagans, The University of North Carolina; Martha Cox, The University of North Carolina; Clancy Blair, New York University; Peg Burchinal, The University of North Carolina; Linda Burton, Duke University; Keith Crnic, The Arizona State University; Ann Crouter, The Pennsylvania State University; Patricia Garrett-Peters, The University of North Carolina; Mark Greenberg, The Pennsylvania State University; Stephanie Lanza, The Pennsylvania State University; Roger Mills-Koonce, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Emily Werner, The Pennsylvania State University and Michael Willoughby, The University of North Carolina.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.
Conflict of Interest
All authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Support for this research was provided by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (PO1-HD-39667), with co-funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Additional support was provided by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (A12-0934) awarded as a predoctoral fellowship (F31) to the lead author.
- Borkowski, J. G., Ramey, S. L., & Bristol-Power, M. (Eds.). (2001). Parenting and the child's world: Influences on academic, intellectual, and social-emotional development. Psychology Press.Google Scholar
- Campbell, J. (1995). Assessing dangerousness: Violence by sexual offenders, batterers, and child abusers. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
- Cicchetti, D., & Lynch, M. (1995). Failures in the expectable environment and their impact on individual development: The case of child maltreatment. In D. Cichetti & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology (Vol. 2) (pp. 32–71). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Cox, M. J., & Crnic, K. (2002). Qualitative ratings for parent–child interaction at 3–12 months of age. Unpublished manuscript, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.Google Scholar
- Cox, M. J., & Harter, K. S. M. (2003). Parent–child relationships. In M. H. Bornstein, L. Davidson, C. L. M. Keyes, & K. A. Moore (Eds.), Wellbeing: Positive development across the life course (pp. 191–204). Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Erickson, M. F., & Egeland, B. (2002). Child neglect. The APSAC Handbook on Child Maltreatment, 2, 3–20.Google Scholar
- Gershoff, E. T. (2002). Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences: a meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin, 128(4), 539–579.Google Scholar
- Green, B. L. (1996). Trauma history questionnaire. In B. H. Stamm (Ed.), Measurement of stress trauma and adaptation (pp. 366–369). Lutherville: Sidran.Google Scholar
- Kaufman, A. S., & Kaufman, N. L. (1994). KFAST: Kaufman Functional Academic Skills Test. Toronto: PSYCAN.Google Scholar
- Ladd, G. W., & Pettit, G. S. (2002). Parenting and the development of children’s peer relationships. In: Bornstein MH, (Eds.). Handbook of parenting (pp. 168–197). Mahwah NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Leaper, C. (2002). Parenting boys and girls. In M. H. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting, vol. 1: Children and parenting (pp. 189–225). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Littell, R. C., Milliken, G. A., Stroup, W. W., Wolfinger, R. D., & Schabenberber, O. (1996). SAS system for linear mixed models. Cary: SAS Institute.Google Scholar
- MacCoby, E. E. (2001). Parenting and its effects on children: on reading and misreading behavior genetics. The Science of Mental Health: Personality and personality disorder, 51, 201.Google Scholar
- McKee, L., Roland, E., Coffelt, N., Olson, A. L., Forehand, R., Massari, C., … & Zens, M. S. (2007). Harsh discipline and child problem behaviors: the roles of positive parenting and gender. Journal of Family Violence, 22(4), 187–196.Google Scholar
- Mckenzie, S. K., & Carter, K. N. (2009). Are retrospective measures of childhood socioeconomic position in prospective adult health surveys useful? Australasian Epidemiologist, 16(3), 22.Google Scholar
- Mulder, P., & Lambert, W. (2006). Behavioral health of rural women: challenges and stressors. In R. T. Coward et al. (Eds.), Rural women’s health (pp. 15–30). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Stormshak, E. A., Bierman, K. L., McMahon, R. J., & Lengua, L. J. (2000). Parenting practices and child disruptive behavior problems in early elementary school. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 29(1), 17–29.Google Scholar
- Zhou, Q., Eisenberg, N., Losoya, S. H., Fabes, R. A., Reiser, M., Guthrie, I. K., et al. (2002). The relations of parental warmth and positive expressiveness to children’s empathy-related responding and social functioning: a longitudinal study. Child Development, 73, 893–915.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar