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Psychol Med. 2000 Nov;30(6):1293-302.

Childhood sexual abuse and pathogenic parenting in the childhood recollections of adult twin pairs.

Author information

1
Missouri Alcoholism Research Center at Washington University, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis 63108, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We examined the relationship between childhood sexual abuse (CSA), and interviewees' recollections of pathogenic parenting, testing for possible retrospective biases in the recollections of those who have experienced CSA.

METHODS:

Information about CSA, parental divorce and interviewees' recollections of parental rejection, parental overprotection and perceived autonomy (as assessed through a shortened version of the Parental Bonding Instrument) was obtained through telephone interviews with 3626 Australian twins who had also returned self-report questionnaires several years earlier. Recollections of parental behaviours were compared for individuals from pairs in which neither twin, at least one twin, or both twins reported CSA.

RESULTS:

Significant associations were noted between CSA and paternal alcoholism and between CSA and recollections of parental rejection. For women, individuals from CSA-discordant pairs reported levels of parental rejection that were significantly higher than those obtained from CSA-negative pairs. The levels of parental rejection observed for twins from CSA-discordant pairs did not differ significantly from those obtained from CSA-concordant pairs, regardless of respondent's abuse status. For men from CSA-discordant pairs, respondents reporting CSA displayed a tendency to report higher levels of parental rejection than did respondents not reporting CSA. Other measures of parenting behaviour (perceived autonomy and parental overprotection) failed to show a clear relationship with CSA.

CONCLUSIONS:

The relationship between CSA and respondents' recollections of parental rejection is not due solely to retrospective bias on the part of abused individuals and, consistent with other studies, may reflect a pathological family environment with serious consequences for all siblings.

PMID:
11097070
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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