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Child Abuse Negl. 2010 Aug;34(8):610-22. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2010.01.007. Epub 2010 Jun 11.

Childhood experiences of sexual abuse and later parenting practices among non-offending mothers of sexually abused and comparison girls.

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Sungkyunkwan University, Department of Social Welfare, Jongro-Gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



The primary goal of this study was to explore the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and parenting practices among non-offending mothers of sexually abused girls. Guided by a developmental-ecological perspective of parenting, several models with different potential pathways starting from the mothers' childhood experiences of sexual abuse and culminating in their parenting practices (e.g., direct, spurious, indirect effect) were hypothesized and explored in the context of the mothers' past and current psychosocial risks and resources. Two dimensions of parenting were considered: providing positive structure (i.e., ratings of how consistent, fair, easygoing), and using punitive discipline.


This study utilized a sample from a longitudinal, multigenerational study in which sexually abused girls, demographically similar comparison girls, and the mothers of both groups of girls participated. For the current study, the data regarding the mothers of the two groups of girls was of primary importance.


The results from a series of model comparison tests supported the spurious effect of mothers' childhood sexual abuse on the positive structure dimension. A direct, inverse relationship was found as the most accurate model with the punitive discipline dimension. Overall, childhood experience of punitive discipline, current dissociative symptoms, and satisfaction with social support were indicated as possible correlates of parenting practices among the mothers.


The significance of these findings is discussed in the context of theories concerning childhood trauma and parenting, as well as the intergenerational process of child maltreatment. Practice implications of the findings are also presented and discussed in terms of intervention programs for families where intrafamilial child sexual abuse occurs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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