Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1513–1524 | Cite as

Childhood Maltreatment and its Effect on Parenting among High-Risk Parents

  • Galit Harel
  • Ricky Finzi-Dottan
Original Paper


Research evidence indicates that a childhood history of maltreatment affects parental behaviors in adulthood. The aim of the study was to investigate the predictors for parental behaviors among individuals who reported a history of maltreatment. The current study investigated whether attachment styles, emotional regulation and cognitive appraisals of parenting predicted parental behaviors (positive vs. negative). The study also investigated the differential effects of abuse experiences in childhood (physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect) on parental behaviors. The participants were 213 high-risk Jewish and Arab parents of children aged six and under. Participants completed five self-report questionnaires assessing parental behaviors, childhood experiences of abuse and neglect, attachment styles, emotional regulation, and cognitive appraisal of parenthood. The regression analyses revealed that personal attributes such as ethnicity, childhood experience of emotional abuse/neglect, emotional regulation, and appraisal of parenting, predict negative parental behavior. Anxious attachment and childhood emotional abuse and neglect moderated the impact of parenthood appraisal on parenting behaviors. Although physical and sexual abuse had the highest impact on insecure attachment, emotional abuse/neglect had higher predictive power for non-positive parenting. Clinical interventions for improving the capacity for emotional regulation and parent-child relational skills are suggested.


Childhood abuse Parental behaviors Attachment styles Emotional regulation Cognitive appraisal of parenthood 


Authors Contributions

The first author designed and executed the study, analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript. The second author supervised the design and writing of the study collaborated in the writing and editing of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Bar-Ilan University research committee.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtain from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkAshkelon Academic CollegeAshkelonIsrael
  2. 2.School of Social WorkBar Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael
  3. 3.Sapir Academic CollegeD. N. Hof AshkelonAshkelonIsrael

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