Limited research has investigated the long-term effects of childhood emotional abuse on later forms of parenting. This study utilized a person-centered approach to explore the relation between retrospectively-reported maternal childhood emotional abuse and observed parenting behaviors during a conflict discussion. Data were collected from 53 caregiver-child dyads with children ages 8–11. Results of a model-based clustering procedure (Mclust; Fraley and Raftery 2006) identified three parenting styles (negative, at-risk, positive) that were based on five observed parenting behaviors (emotion regulation, anger, hostility, psychological control, and psychological unavailability). Results indicated that higher levels of childhood emotional abuse were reported by women in the at-risk and negative parenting subgroups. Mothers in the negative parenting and at-risk parenting clusters exhibited greater levels of emotional abuse when compared to the positive parenting cluster. Possible implications are discussed, and results underscore the importance of emotionally abusive developmental experiences in the understanding of risk for maladaptive parenting behaviors.
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This research was supported in part by funding from the University of Georgia Research Foundation.
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McCullough, C., Harding, H.G., Shaffer, A. et al. Intergenerational Continuity of Risky Parenting: A Person-Oriented Approach to Assessing Parenting Behaviors. J Fam Viol 29, 409–418 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-014-9593-6