Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 44, Issue 6, pp 1097–1109 | Cite as

Intergenerational Transmission of Maladaptive Parenting Strategies in Families of Adolescent Mothers: Effects from Grandmothers to Young Children

  • Danielle M. SeayEmail author
  • Laudan B. Jahromi
  • Adriana J. Umaña-Taylor
  • Kimberly A. Updegraff


The current longitudinal study examined the effect of the transmission of maladaptive parenting strategies from grandmothers to adolescent mothers on children’s subsequent development. Mexican-origin adolescent mothers (N = 204) participated in home interviews when the adolescent’s child (89 boys, 60 girls) was 2, 3, 4, and 5 years old. Grandmothers’ psychological control toward the adolescent mother was positively related to adolescents’ potential for abuse 1 year later, which was subsequently positively related to adolescents’ punitive discipline toward their young child. In addition, adolescent mothers’ punitive discipline subsequently predicted greater externalizing problems and less committed compliance among their children. Adolescent mothers’ potential for abuse and punitive discipline mediated the effects of grandmothers’ psychological control on children’s externalizing problems. Finally, adolescent mothers’ potential for abuse mediated the effect of grandmothers’ psychological control on adolescent mothers’ punitive discipline. Results highlight the salience of long-term intergenerational effects of maladaptive parenting on children’s behavior.


Adolescent mothers Externalizing behavior Compliance Intergenerational issues Mexican American families Parenting 



We thank the families who participated in this study, and the undergraduate research assistants, the graduate research assistants, and staff of the Supporting MAMI project for their contributions to the larger study

Compliance with Ethical Standards


This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01HD061376; PI: Umaña-Taylor), the Department of Health and Human Services (APRPA006001; PI: Umaña-Taylor), and the Cowden Fund to the School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danielle M. Seay
    • 1
    Email author
  • Laudan B. Jahromi
    • 2
  • Adriana J. Umaña-Taylor
    • 1
  • Kimberly A. Updegraff
    • 1
  1. 1.T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, Program in Family and Human DevelopmentArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Teachers CollegeColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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