This study examined predictors for parents' potential for abusing their children. Two hundred and thirteen Jewish and Arab parents of children up to 6 years of age completed six questionnaires assessing child-abuse potential, childhood history of abuse/neglect, attachment style, emotional control, perceived stress, and cognitive appraisal of parenthood. Results indicated that parents who experienced childhood abuse and neglect scored significantly higher in child-abuse potential than parents without a history of abuse or neglect. A Structural Equation Model indicated that anxious and avoidant attachment mediated the experiences of abuse and neglect in childhood and emotional control; whereas emotional control deficits mediated the relationship between insecure attachment and parenthood as challenge vs. threat, leading to greater child-abuse potential. Clinical implications were discussed.
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