Maternal childhood abuse and offspring adjustment over time.

MRC Social, Genetic, and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK.
Development and Psychopathology (Impact Factor: 4.4). 02/2007; 19(2):367-83. DOI: 10.1017/S0954579407070186
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study addressed the basis for the intergenerational transmission of psychosocial risk associated with maternal childhood abuse in relation to offspring adjustment. The study tested how far group differences in individual change in adjustment over time were explained by differences in exposure to specific environmental risk experiences. Data are drawn from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Information on mothers' own experience of childhood abuse, offspring adjustment at ages 4 and 7 years, and hypothesized mediators was available for 5,619 families. A residuals scores analysis was used to track children's adjustment over time. Maternal childhood abuse was associated with poorer behavioral trajectories between ages 4 and 7 years. Children of abused mothers were more likely to experience a range of negative life events between ages 4 and 7 years, including changes in family composition, separations from parents, "shocks and frights" and physical assaults. Interim life events, together with antecedent psychosocial risk (maternal antenatal affective symptoms, age 4 parental hostility, age 4 family type) fully mediated the association between maternal childhood abuse and offspring prognosis.The authors express their gratitude to the families who participated in the study. Support for these analyses was provided by a grant from the Medical Research Council. The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) is part of the World Health Organisation initiated European Study of Pregnancy and Childhood, and is supported, among others, by the Wellcome Trust, The Department of Health, The Department of the Environment, and the Medical Research Council. The ALSPAC study team comprises interviewers, computer technicians, laboratory technicians, clerical workers, research scientists, volunteers, and managers who continue to make the study possible.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Aims: To investigate the impact of maternal childhood abuse on toddlers' behaviour and assess the potential mediation of maternal mental distress for this pathway. Methods: This study was based on the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. The study sample consisted of 25,452 children and their mothers. Maternal childhood abuse was investigated as a potential predictor for child externalizing behaviour at 36 months of age. Maternal mental distress at child age 18 months was assessed as a potential mediator. Hierarchical linear regressions were used for analyses. Results: Childhood emotional abuse alone was reported by 8.3% of the mothers and physical and/or sexual abuse by 8.9%. Mothers with childhood abuse experiences were younger, less educated, more at risk for adult abuse and mental distress, and fewer were married or lived with a partner compared with women not reporting childhood abuse. Children of mothers with childhood abuse experiences showed significantly more externalizing behaviour even after adjusting for maternal age, education, single motherhood, gender and adult abuse experiences. When maternal mental health was entered into the model, the associations remained statistically significant, but were substantially attenuated. Conclusions: Maternal childhood abuse consistently predicted increased externalizing behaviour in the offspring, and this study suggests that childhood abuse impacts subsequent generations. Multiple pathways are possible, but this study identified increased maternal mental distress as a possible pathway between maternal childhood abuse and increased externalizing behaviour in the offspring.
    Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 11/2013; · 3.13 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study examined hostility and harsh discipline of both mothers and fathers as potential mechanisms explaining the association between a maternal maltreatment history and her offspring's internalizing and externalizing problems. Prospective data from fetal life to age 6 were collected from a total of 4,438 families participating in the Generation R Study. Maternal maltreatment was assessed during pregnancy using a self-administered questionnaire. Mothers and fathers each reported on their psychological distress and harsh discipline when the child was 3 years. Children's internalizing and externalizing problems were assessed by parental reports and child interview at age 6. Findings from structural equation modeling showed that the association between a maternal maltreatment history and her offspring's externalizing problems was explained by maternal hostility and harsh discipline and, at least partially, also by paternal hostility and harsh discipline. Child interview data provided support for both these indirect paths, with associations largely similar to those observed for parent reports.
    Child Maltreatment 03/2014; · 2.77 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Up to one in five children experience mental health problems. Social and cultural factors may influence emergence of mental health problems. The 21st century has led to changes in many of these factors, but it is unclear whether rates of internalizing and externalizing problems have also changed in recent cohorts of young people. A comprehensive literature search was undertaken to locate cohort or population studies that examined changes in mental health of children over time, where participants were aged 18 years and under, and the time frame for change was at least 10 years, with data for at least one time point in the 21st century being statistically compared to at least one time point in the 20th century. Studies were reviewed for quality and outcome. Nineteen studies met criteria for review. These included studies of toddlers, children, and adolescents. Seventeen studies examined internalizing problems, and 11 studies examined externalizing problems. For both children and toddlers, recent cohorts did not exhibit worsening of mental health symptoms. In adolescents, the burden of externalizing problems appear to be stable. However, the majority of studies report an increase in internalizing problems in adolescent girls. The findings for internalizing problems in boys were mixed. These findings suggest that recent cohorts of adolescent girls are experiencing increases in internalizing symptoms compared to previous cohorts. Approaches for prevention and early intervention should be explored.
    Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 05/2014; · 3.77 Impact Factor


Available from
Oct 31, 2014