Parents' Potential for Child Abuse: An Intergenerational Perspective

  • Finzi-Dottan R
  • Harel G
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Abstract

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.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adult child abuse risk
  • Attachment styles
  • Childhood abuse
  • Emotional control
  • Parental stress
  • Parenthood as threat

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