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Intergenerational Continuity of Child Abuse Among Adolescent Mothers : Authoritarian Parenting, Community Violence, and Race
Kristin Valentino, Amy K. Nuttall, Michelle Comas, John G. Borkowski and Carol E. Akai Child Maltreat 2012 17: 172 originally published online 27 January 2012 DOI: 10.1177/1077559511434945 The online version of this article can be found at:

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Results revealed that among mothers with a child abuse history. and the moderating effect of African American race was examined. Akai2 Child Maltreatment 17(2) 172-181 ª The Author(s) 2012 Reprints and permission: sagepub. Center for Children & Families. New London.sagepub. Community Violence. 2012 . we sought to identify protective factors at multiple ecological levels that would differentiate families who broke the cycle of maltreatment from those whose children became maltreated by age 18. who have been followed longitudinally since the third trimester of the adolescent mothers’ pregnancy. Deater-Deckard.nav DOI: 10. few studies have followed high-risk samples of maltreated and nonmaltreated parents over time to evaluate such processes.valentino@nd. Browne. and Race Kristin Valentino1. Caucasian American) moderated the effects of these potential protective factors. teen parenting Among the negative sequelae of child maltreatment is the increased risk of transmitting maltreatment to the next generation (Dixon. we addressed whether authoritarian parenting among African American families may mitigate against the intergenerational continuity of child Abstract Among the negative sequelae of child maltreatment is increased risk for continuity of maltreatment into subsequent generations. 2006). Lansford. Kaufman & Zigler. maltreatment. & Pettit. Deater-Deckard. exposure to community violence and authoritarian parenting attitudes were evaluated as predictors of the intergenerational continuity of abuse.. Michelle Comas1. Cicchetti & Valentino. The current investigation focused on exposure to violence at the exosystem level and parenting styles at the microsystem level as predictors and examined how different racial contexts (African American vs. University of Notre Dame. Informed by research that demonstrates how the negative sequelae of authoritarian and/or no-nonsense parenting styles may be limited to Caucasian American families (e. USA Email: kristin. Amy K. Bates. Notre Dame. The purpose of the current study was to examine the intergenerational continuity of maltreatment among a sample of adolescent mothers who were tracked longitudinally from their pregnancies until their children were 18 years of age. Dodge. University of Notre Dame. Connecticut College. & Hamilton-Giachritsis. Borkowski1 and Carol E. Of the adolescent mothers with a maltreatment history. USA Corresponding Author: Kristin Valentino. IN. The relation of authoritarian parenting attitudes to intergenerational continuity was moderated by race.Intergenerational Continuity of Child Abuse Among Adolescent Mothers: Authoritarian Parenting. community violence. 2005. Despite acknowledgment in the literature that the pathways toward interrupting the continuity of maltreatment are likely the result of dynamic interactions of risk and protective factors across multiple ecological levels (Cicchetti & Lynch. 1987).edu Downloaded from cmx. Notre Dame. 1 Department of Psychology. Dodge. parenting. John 1993. Jacobvitz. 2004). ecological models. the protective effects of authoritarian parenting were limited to the African American families only. A large body of literature suggests that victims of childhood maltreatment are more likely to maltreat their own children than are parents without a maltreatment history. CT. Egeland. & Pettit. Despite acknowledgment in the literature that the pathways toward breaking the cycle of maltreatment are likely the result of dynamic interactions of risk and protective factors across multiple ecological levels. USA 2 Department of Psychology.sagepub. Bates. few studies have followed high-risk samples of maltreated and nonmaltreated parents over time to evaluate such processes. 128 Haggar Hall. higher exposure to community violence and lower authoritarian parenting attitudes were associated with increased risk for intergenerational continuity of abuse. and implications for preventive programs are highlighted. IN 46556. In the current investigation. 1996. The sample included 70 mothers and their 18-yearold by marc gabriela on October 28. The salience of multiple ecological levels in interrupting the intergenerational continuity of child abuse is discussed.1177/1077559511434945 http://cm. Nuttall1.g. 1988. Keywords child abuse. & Sroufe.

1972. Child Maltreatment Child maltreatment is a serious threat to public health. 2011). Among this high-risk group of individuals with childhood abuse histories.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 1998. Approximately 25% of those cases were substantiated. Child maltreatment confers significant risk for children in multiple developmental domains (Cicchetti & Valentino. more than 3. and research demonstrates that despite elevated risk for maltreatment among children of parents who were childhood victims of abuse. 2006). Of note is the distinction between intergenerational continuity of abuse and the intergenerational transmission of abuse. 2000). The maladaptive consequences of child maltreatment persist throughout the lifespan. In 2009. and social isolation is commonly associated with maltreatment (Garbarino.. Kaufman & Zigler. DHHS. & Dodge. & Chung. Such research will be invaluable in developing preventive interventions for this especially vulnerable group of parents and their children. For example. suicide attempts. were positively related to levels of child-reported violence in the community. Authoritarian parenting is characterized Downloaded from cmx. 2010). leading to a child victimization rate of 10 per 1. particularly physical abuse. Theoretical (Belsky. Dixon. research has documented the benefits of an authoritative parenting style as well as the risks associated with an authoritarian style in relation to child development (Baumrind. 2002). Pears & Capaldi. it is important to identify mechanisms that confer protection from maltreatment continuity. 1987. however. parents often do not utilize available preventive services or interventions. 173 1997). 7. Exposure to Community Violence Exposure to community violence is an element of the exosystem that adversely affects family functioning and stress (Overstreet & Braun. 1993.Valentino et al. 1993).7% by the time children were 13 months of age versus 0. Approximately 80% of these children were maltreated by a parent. continuity refers to situations where abused parents have an abused child in the household without distinguishing whether the perpetrator is the parent or not. 2001) has indicated that parental history of maltreatment is one of the most salient risk factors for subsequent child maltreatment. 2005. child maltreatment) and adult mental and physical health has attributed 50–78% of adult depression. whereas transmission refers to a subset of these families in which parents who were victims of childhood abuse can be identified as subsequent perpetrators of abuse toward their own children (Berlin. Pears & Capaldi. the majority of parents with abuse histories do not perpetuate abuse in the next generation (Browne & Herbert.S..4% of parents without a history of maltreatment (Dixon et al.S. Appleyard. Parenting Styles Since Baumrind’s (1972) identification of distinct parenting styles. 2001).. child maltreatment is a significant threat to healthy child development. 2005). Crampton. which underscores the pivotal role parents play in risk for child abuse and neglect (U. Coulton. 1993. Richters & Martinez. 2005. research on the intergenerational continuity of child abuse has not yet considered the role of community violence in this process.6 million children were subject to child protective services investigations. Bosquet. Egeland. research on the associations between patient reports of adverse childhood experiences (i. Youth and Families [U. 1993. Lynch and Cicchetti (1998) examined the mutual relationships among community violence. Additional research suggests that in communities exposed to high levels of violence. For example. Lynch & by marc gabriela on October 28. 1993.sagepub. Martinez & Richters. Estimates indicate that up to 50% of children investigated by CPS (not just cases that were substantiated) exhibit clinical levels of mental health symptoms (Burns et al. Clearly. These services may be especially important for vulnerable populations such as teenage mothers living in violent neighborhoods. there is a need for preventive interventions for maltreatment that are theoretically and empirically driven by research on risk and protective factors. 1978. 1979). 1977. Irwin. child maltreatment. 1997. in one prospective study that followed infants from birth to age 5. For example. & Browne.S.4% of parents with an abuse history maltreated their own children (Browne & Herbert. 2007. Hunter & Kilstrom. by age 21. population. Cicchetti & Valentino. DHHS]. 2012 . Rates of child maltreatment. and the experience of community violence has been specifically associated with child maltreatment (Cicchetti & Lynch. and drug or alcohol use to adverse childhood experiences including child abuse and neglect (Anda et al.. a prospective study of high-risk families with boys reported that. 2006). Administration on Children. 23% of the sons of physically abused parents reported that their parent/parents had abused them versus 10% of the sons of parents without a history of abuse (Pears & Capaldi. 2006). Another prospective study reported the proportion of parents with a history of maltreatment whose children were subsequently referred to authorities for abuse and/or neglect as 6. Gershoff. Hamilton-Giachritsis. 2001). In contrast. and 36–45% of these children display significant behavior problems. Documented rates of intergenerational continuity vary widely. 2004). children involved with the child welfare system are up to three times more likely to have low levels of academic achievement than children who are not involved with the welfare system (U. and children’s functioning over a 1-year period. 2002) and empirical work (Dixon et al. Despite the association between community violence exposure and child abuse.e. As such. Spilsbury.000 children in the U.. The Intergenerational Continuity of Abuse The occurrence of child maltreatment is multiply determined by risk and protective factors transacting at multiple levels of analysis (Cicchetti & Lynch. & Korbin. The focus of this investigation is intergenerational continuity of childhood abuse. 2010). Moreover.

5 years old (M ¼ 17. For by marc gabriela on October 28. Consistent with an ecological-transactional perspective. Bernstein & Fink. to the role of authoritarian parenting attitudes in relation to risk for child abuse or intergenerational continuity of abuse.. this represents 40% of the original sample participants. Sommer et al. Keogh. 2000). Whitman. high expectations for conformity and compliance with parental authority. SD ¼ 1. which has been associated with positive child developmental outcomes among African American families (e..5 and 19. Harsh physical punishment is associated with significant maladaptive outcomes including aggression. With regard to parenting. 1990.35. racial or ethnic group membership has been conceptualized as macrosystem-level factor that significantly influences social practices and relationships observed within microsystems. violence. 2006). such that higher authoritarian parenting among African American families would operate as a protective factor. an authoritarian parenting style may similarly be associated with positive parenting behavior. Because the distinction between physical punishment and physical abuse is not clear. and concern for their children’s futures (McLoyd. Although the use of authoritarian punishment styles may suggest risk for maltreatment among Caucasian American families. and/or emotional) would be more likely to have children who reported experiences of childhood abuse than mothers without a history of abuse. leading to less aggressive behavior and more positive developmental outcomes among African American children.. The investigation had the following major hypotheses: Hypothesis 1: Mothers with a history of childhood abuse (physical. mesosystems. and is often associated with families that use physical punishment. Pinderhughes. Present Study The present study examined the intergenerational continuity of child abuse in a sample of adolescent mothers and their children whose development has been tracked over 18 years (Borkowski et al. Brooks-Gunn. researchers have found that the adoption and exercise of authoritarian parenting styles in African American families were not associated with the adverse behavioral outcomes commonly linked with authoritarian parenting in Caucasian American families. Lansford et al. Research has yet to explore how authoritarian parenting may be related to the intergenerational continuity of child abuse. the use of physical punishment has been identified as an obvious predictor of child abuse.7 (SD ¼ 11. variables operating at all ecological levels may influence each other in relation to child developmental outcomes (Cicchetti & Lynch. Given that authoritarian parenting has been associated with decreased aggressive behavior and more positive developmental outcomes among African American children.g. For example. Dodge. For the present study. 2007. however. first-time adolescent mothers and their children from the last trimester of pregnancy through children’s adolescence (Borkowski et al.sagepub. firstborns were included as target children in the sample.. cultural. varies by racial context. hospital clinics.05) at the time of their child’s birth. Bates. 2001).. the average maternal IQ was 88.174 by demandingness. Borkowski. Heightened awareness to potential dangers may motivate stronger authoritarian attitudes and beliefs about parental control and subsequently facilitate greater protection against childhood abuse. 70 dyads with complete data on both mothers’ and children’s abuse history measured by the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ. 2004). 1995) or externalizing behavior problems (Deater-Deckard et al. with 36% non-Hispanic Caucasian American participants and 7% Hispanic American participants. Pettit. 2002. 2001) and may be relevant to the prevention of the intergenerational continuity of child abuse among African American families. The current project analyzed data among mothers who reported abuse prior to 18 years of age and their adolescent children at age 18. 1997. Prenatally. For example. 1996). IN or Aiken. and whether this relation is moderated by race. among whom there are heightened perceptions of danger. 1998) were included in the analyses. such as hostility and resistance (Baumrind. and its association with child outcomes. a longitudinal study following. Hypothesis 2: Among mothers with a history of childhood abuse. 2007. Spencer et al. Whitman et al. parenting style attitudes and race. rather than conferring risk compared to Caucasian American families. 1989). evidence has accumulated that authoritarian parenting may act protectively among African American families (Gunnoe & Mariner. & Weed. 1995. 2012 . Method Participants Participants in this study included a subsample of mother–child dyads (N ¼ 70) drawn from the Notre Dame Adolescent Parenting Project. sexual. 2006. 1972. for review).. In contrast. and exosystems (Cicchetti & Valentino. Hypothesis 3: The effect of authoritarian parenting on childhood abuse would be moderated by race. an emerging literature suggests that the practice of authoritarian parenting. Taylor & Roberts. exposure to community violence and authoritarian attitudes about harsh parenting would predict intergenerational continuity of childhood abuse.6). & Chase-Lansdale. the protective nature of authoritarian Child Maltreatment 17(2) parenting may be especially true. Mothers in the study were between 14. SC. 2001). African American parents adopt authoritarian and restrictive parenting styles more frequently than do Caucasian American parents (Furstenberg. & Zelli. an authoritarian parenting style may increase parental monitoring. 1993. Most mothers were in low socioeconomic status categories with a mean Hollingshead Downloaded from cmx. and social service agencies in South Bend. Teenage mothers were recruited from school-age mothers programs. All participants were English-speaking. Cicchetti & Valentino. Predictor variables included exposure to community violence. For low-income African American parents. less attention has been paid. 2006). and delinquency in children (see Gershoff.. Pittman & Chase-Lansdale. Approximately 57% of the sample was comprised of African American participants. distress.

Miceli. their guardians provided informed consent and mothers provided assent. Bavolek. 2003). 2007). The subscales computed from the 28-item CTQ (sexual abuse. At birth. Presence of childhood abuse history (mothers and children).74).5% severe). Design and Procedures Adolescent mothers were assessed in the laboratory or their homes during the third trimester of their first pregnancy. The neighborhood subscale of the Recent Exposure to Violence scale (EVS. or hit by someone in your neighborhood.. At the 14-year assessment. child participants had typical weights of more than 5. and 10. Overall. Singer. 66% indicated a childhood history of sexual.5% sexual abuse (5. we evaluated maternal authoritarian parenting attitudes. 57% of children were male. Anglin.2% mild. or emotional abuse that was above the threshold for mild abuse on that subscale. Informed consent was obtained from all participants. reports of family members. sexual abuse. and 10. In the current study. maternal childhood abuse history and children’s selfreported exposure to violence were assessed at the 14-year assessment. 10.4% moderate. Sommer et al.6% moderate.4% severe abuse in at least one domain (emotional. rejection. 1998). 1997. participants were asked how often have you seen someone else slapped. For example. physical neglect. Prenatally.4% severe). and clinician ratings (Bernstein et al. and responsiveness toward children’s needs. postnatally. children provided assent. mother and child participants were given the option of having items read to them by interviewers to account for lower literacy levels and informed consent was obtained. 1995). and 38. Measures Authoritarian parenting attitudes (mother). Consistent with prior research on an authoritarian parenting style (Baumrind.8%) and typical Apgar scores at 5 min (M ¼ 8. maternal IQ. Families participated in several research visits beginning prenatally and ending when children were age 18 (Borkowski et al. emotional abuse >9.74 and has been shown to predict parenting outcomes (Miller. sexual abuse >6. there were no significant differences between abuse groups on maternal Downloaded from cmx.86 points (SD ¼ 1. 43. the PAQ authoritarianism scale measures maternal parenting expectations that are high in control and low in warmth.85. 1993). parental value of physical punishment.9% mild.9. Additionally. or emotional abuse. The current subsample did not significantly differ from the adolescent mothers in the full sample on any of the aforementioned demographic characteristics. for further details). The internal consistency of items in the current sample was high. 2012 . SD ¼ . or sexual). Additionally. 1972). 1985). & Lunghofer. and 18. scores on the CTQ have been found to be significantly correlated with trauma ratings from child welfare records.5% reported all three subtypes of abuse.1% physical abuse (20% mild. children in the current study reported the frequencies of directly observing threats and violent actions in their neighborhoods on a scale of 0 (never) to 3 (almost every day). Song. and independence in conjunction with the Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory (AAPI. and 34. There were no significant differences on demographic variables. Specifically. punched. even among adolescent reporters (Bernstein & Fink. Descriptive statistics associated with maternal abuse status are presented in Table 1. physical abuse. 1998. mothers completed questionnaires and provided permission to access birth-related medical records. emotional abuse. Child abuse was operationalized by any score of physical abuse. and have been shown to have good reliability. and children’s self-reported abuse histories at the 18-year visit. physical abuse. with higher ratings indicating more agreement with statements such as Children should not be allowed to question their parents’ decisions and I believe too much affection and tenderness can harm or weaken a child.5% moderate abuse. & Borkowski. For all assessment visits. physical. 11. 1998) is a 28-item retrospective selfreport questionnaire that assesses childhood maltreatment experiences using a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (never true) to 5 (very often true).66). 10. Mothers completed the CTQ about their own child abuse history at the 14-year assessment. nurturance. by marc gabriela on October 28. 18.. Items are rated on a 5-point scale. 1996. and emotional neglect) are appropriate for both nonclinical and clinical populations. Exposure to community violence (children). 24.6% reported two subtypes.8% of mothers reported mild abuse.. a ¼ . Index of Social Position of 69. lack of empathy. and children completed the CTQ at age 18. and strong construct and external validity. 20% reported experiencing just one significant subtype of abuse. and parent–child role reversal. if adolescent mothers were under age 18. 42.. The authoritarianism scale of the PAQ consists of 5 items with an internal consistency coefficient of .7% reported above-threshold emotional abuse (22.4% moderate. Threshold scores were distinct for each subscale (physical abuse >8. and emotional abuse subscales (each composed of 5 items) were utilized to determine the presence or absence of a childhood abuse history. 175 children’s exposure to community violence when adolescent children were approximately 14 years of age. see Bernstein & Fink. and 22. 1995) was used to assess Results Among adolescent mothers. For example. The AAPI includes scales assessing inappropriate parental expectations.9% severe). Specifically. 11. The Parent Attitude Questionnaire (PAQ) measures parental attitudes such as authoritarianism.5 lbs (95. The neighborhood subscale has good external validity (Singer et al.sagepub. The AAPI is a self-report measure that assesses attitudes about parenting in order to provide an index of risk for maladaptive parenting. and at the 18-year assessment children provided their own informed consent. Prenatally.Valentino et al. or children’s birth outcomes between mothers who reported a history of abuse and those who did not. the sexual abuse. physical. The CTQ (Bernstein & Fink.

5.13 — 1.8) 66.2) 8.6% moderate. Maternal age 2.04 2 — 1.6(12.06 À by marc gabriela on October 28. **p < . 7).13 4 5 6 7 — 1.176 Child Maltreatment 17(2) Table 1.01.14 À.6% physical abuse (12. and 7.0) 8. Mothers with an abuse history were more likely to have children who reported abuse (54.9% mild.0) Table 2.0) 70. 78. African American 4.77(1.34(2.1% endorsed experiencing one abuse subtype.05 . At the second step of the analysis.12 À.06 À. 27. The second and third hypotheses focused on mothers with an abuse history (N ¼ 46) and identified variables that distinguished families who demonstrated intergenerational continuity from those who did not.0 .86(. Authoritarian attitudes were negatively correlated with child abuse.1% severe). 2012 . both of these variables were included in the correlation matrix. maternal IQ was negatively related to authoritarian attitudes and African American race. approximately half of the mothers with a maltreatment history were able to interrupt the cycle of intergenerational abuse continuity.7% severe abuse in at least one domain (emotional.4% reported emotional abuse (15.4(1. Interrelations between all study variables are presented in Table 2. of the children who reported a history of abuse at age 18. 23. Abuse History (N ¼ 24) 17. 45. and 17.6% moderate. Therefore. In the first step. Furthermore. No significant differences were observed between groups.05. 28.8% moderate.6 3265.7% severe).2 89. a large proportion of children reported above-threshold child abuse. Descriptive Statistics: Means and Standard Deviations for Demographic Variables by Maternal Abuse History Abuse History (N ¼ 46) Maternal age at child birth Maternal ethnicity % African American Maternal IQ Maternal Hollingshead rating Child gender % Male Child birth weight (g) Child Apgar score (at 5 min) Authoritarian attitudes at prenatal visit Child community violence exposure at age 14 Note. maternal IQ and race (a dichotomous variable that reflected whether mothers were African American (1) or Caucasian American (0)) were covaried.9% mild. For dichotomous variables (3. Consistent with the prior literature.11 .04 . maternal prenatal authoritarian attitudes and children’s exposure to community violence were added to the equation to evaluate Hypothesis 2.7(536.00 .71) 10.5) 1. Given the high-risk nature of the sample in terms of maternal age and IQ. authoritarian parenting attitudes or children’s reported exposure to community violence.7% sexual abuse (5.0 . and 10.9(11. Additionally. Nonetheless. Specifically.0 À.02 À.24* — 1.4% severe). a product term of authoritarian attitudes and African American race was entered to evaluate whether race moderated the relation of authoritarian attitudes to the Downloaded from cmx.6 87. Because of our interest in the moderating role of race.39** . maternal IQ was covaried in regression analyses.3%) than were mothers with no reported abuse history (29.2 3370.3) 1.61(2.05.1(1.2%). Similar to their mothers. 30. A logistic regression was performed using three steps.0 À.7% mild. however. and maternal abuse was positively correlated with child abuse (Table 2). 8.8% all three subtypes of abuse. Intercorrelations Among Demographic.7(463.0) 52.0) 66.6(1. the variable name reflects the value coded as 1. and 8. *p < . 9. physical.1) 69.41** À.77) 9. 6.9) 17.3(1. In the final step of the logistic regression.15 À. Maternal IQ 3. Authoritarian attitudes 5. Overall. and Outcome Variables 1 1.1% of children reported mild abuse. w2(1)¼ 4.sagepub.1% had mothers who reported a personal history of child abuse.30* — 1. Predictor. or sexual).0 Note.5) 52. and 1.15(2. Our first hypothesis focused on the intergenerational continuity of abuse.7% reported significant child abuse. the small number of Hispanic American mothers who endorsed an abuse history (n ¼ 4) were excluded from subsequent analyses. authoritarian parenting attitudes were positively and moderately correlated with African American race.3% moderate abuse.16 À. Child abuse history 1. Chi-square analysis revealed that maternal history of abuse clearly increased the risk for children to experience abuse prior to age 18. 8. Maternal abuse history 7. and 15. p < .12 .30* À.04 . Community violence 6.0 .10 3 — 1.94(. 7. Age was not significantly related to any variables of interest.4% two subtypes.

B ¼ À. however.00 No Continuity 10. and the direction of its effect was opposite to the African American group. such that lower authoritarian parenting was associated with membership in the abuse continuity group. p < . w2(2) ¼ 13. B (SE) .98. that this prior research focused on intergenerational transmission of abuse. p ¼ . Nagelkerke R2 ¼ . low levels of authoritarian parenting were associated with membership in the abuse continuity group. 2012 . The utilization of a longitudinal design over 18 years.79. p ¼ . Consistent with Hypothesis 2.03(.62(. Table 3. after controlling for maternal IQ. and accounted for significant variance over and above the main effects of the individual predictors. After controlling for race and maternal IQ.13. Authoritarian parenting was not a significant predictor of children’s abuse status.35** À.03(. ns. among the Caucasian American families.28. maternal authoritarian parenting attitudes was a significant predictor of child abuse status at age 18.03) .46* À8.7% accuracy in predicting interruption of continuity.58. p < .27) .3% accuracy in predicting abuse continuity.56(4. w2(2) ¼ 3.53(. Finally.14(.4) prediction of intergenerational continuity of abuse (Hypothesis 3). after controlling for maternal IQ.04) . B ¼ .Valentino et al.15. Community violence individually accounted for a nonsiginificant proportion of variance B ¼ .22(2. and 72. and Caucasian American families. Results indicated that the African American race by authoritarian attitudes product term significantly improved model prediction. separate logistic regressions were run among African American families. 54.01. *p <.51(. allowing for 71/4% accuracy in predictions of abuse continuity (see Table 3). The rate of intergenerational continuity of child abuse reported in the current investigation. Figure 1 illustrates the relation of authoritarian parenting to children’s abuse status by race. *p < . Authoritarian parenting was a strong predictor of children’s abuse status. Nagelkerke R2 ¼ . a product term of African American race and authoritarian attitudes was calculated and entered as the third step of the logistic regression to address whether the association between authoritarian parenting attitudes and child abuse status would be moderated by race.95(. w2(2) ¼ 11. allowing for 83. In contrast. which contributed a nonsignificant proportion of variance to the model. A comparison of the mean values and standard deviations for the continuity and no continuity groups on these variables is presented in Table by marc gabriela on October 28. It should be noted. In sum.22)* . Community violence was marginally related to children’s abuse status.28. ns. To evaluate the moderation of authoritarian parenting on child abuse status by African American race. and exosystem (community violence) levels. the relation of authoritarian parenting to children’s abuse status was moderated by African American race.0) 2. among a sample of low-income adolescent mothers who reported a history of childhood abuse.. the consideration of risk and protective factors at microsystem (authoritarian parenting attitudes). and the examination of moderating processes represent a unique contribution to the literature on the intergenerational continuity of child abuse.48)* 8. the addition of authoritarian parenting and exposure to community violence marginally improved model fit. the addition of authoritarian parenting and exposure to community violence resulted in a significant improvement in model prediction.34) . a positive relationship emerged between exposure to community violence and membership in the abuse continuity group.59.55. Additionally.70.11(. Results of Logistic Regression Analysis Predicting Child Abuse Continuity Model R2 Step 1 African American Maternal IQ Step 2 African American Maternal IQ Authoritarian parenting attitudes Exposure to community violence Step 3 African American Maternal IQ Authoritarian parenting attitudes Exposure to community violence Authoritarian  African American Note. B ¼ .01. Additionally.8) 0. is significantly greater than prior prospective longitudinal studies.4) .70) . Means and Standard Deviations for Intergenerational Continuity of Abuse as a Function of Authoritarian Parenting Attitudes and Exposure to Community Violence Abuse Continuity Maternal authoritarian attitudes* Child exposure to community violence* Note.43) À.01.sagepub. the addition of maternal prenatal authoritarian attitudes and children’s exposure to community violence to the equation at the second step significantly improved the model fit in predicting the children’s abuse status at age 18.05. p < .05. w2(1) ¼ 4.33(2. 2001). 177 Table 4.3%.00(.05. Discussion The goals of the current investigation were to identify protective factors at multiple ecological levels that could differentiate families who interrupted intergenerational continuity of abuse from those families whose children experienced maltreatment by age 18. such that authoritarian parenting was a protective factor among African American families only.04(. which represents a subset of families in which intergenerational continuity of abuse (as was assessed in the current Downloaded from cmx. p < . Among African American families.04) À. Pears & Capaldi. exposure to community violence contributed a significant proportion of unique variance to the prediction of children’s abuse status.45(2. It should be noted that the direction of the relation between authoritarian parenting and child abuse was in the opposite direction than anticipated. which have reported rates up to 23% by the time children reached age 21 (e.31)* À. **p < .84) À.

but not for Caucasian American families who are facing the same environmental risk. the discrepancy between the rate of intergenerational continuity of abuse in the current sample and prior research is substantially larger than might be expected. 1998). a finding which is consistent with our results showing that belief in higher parental control (higher authoritarian parenting attitudes) was associated with reduced risk for child abuse among low-income African American families. The current investigation addresses a significant gap in the literature by evaluating a moderating process in the relation between risk and/or protective factors and the intergenerational continuity of child abuse (Berlin et al. 1989). Authoritarian parenting attitudes conferred protection from the intergenerational continuity of child abuse. 1998) and adds to the body of literature which documents the adverse effects of exposure to community violence on multiple aspects of child and family functioning (Margolin. but only when considered within the context of authoritarian parenting attitudes and race. Figure 1. reported higher exposure to community violence and children’s exposure to community violence significantly predicted subsequent traumatization over the next year (Lynch & Cicchetti.. demographically matched families. the current investigation is the first to provide prospective longitudinal data on the intergenerational continuity of abuse among low-income adolescent mothers and highlights the significant extent to which the children of low-income adolescent mothers are at risk for child maltreatment. The relation of child abuse status to authoritarian parenting attitudes among African American and Caucasian American adolescent mothers. Furstenberg and colleagues (1989) have argued that higher levels of perceived control over children in environments where families experience daily threat (i. or firm parental control among African American families. particularly those with histories of physical abuse. research among African American families reveals that that low parental supervision and monitoring are among factors associated with adverse adolescent outcomes (Pittman & Chase-Lansdale. 2011). and adds by marc gabriela on October 28. in communities where neighborhood and school violence is high) is both adaptive and appropriate (Furstenberg et al. The significant moderation of parenting attitudes by race is consistent with. This finding is consistent with prior research that has established an association between children’s physical abuse and their reported exposure to community violence among school-aged children (Lynch & Cicchetti. a growing literature that reveals how parenting practices may be associated with different child outcomes in different cultural contexts. is associated with reductions in maladaptive behavior in children (Deater-Deckard et al. with maternal age inversely related to risk for child abuse (Dixon et al. Future longitudinal work should attempt to assess community violence and child abuse at multiple time points to clarify the potential transactional relationships between these two risk processes. Lansford et al. however.178 Child Maltreatment 17(2) community violence exposure and risk for intergenerational continuity of child abuse. 2000). Specifically. a number of studies have indicated that authoritarian parenting. Within the current sample. Interestingly. this effect was moderated by race such that the protective effects of authoritarian parenting attitudes were relevant for the African American families but not the Caucasian American families. Lynch and Cicchetti noted bidirectional relationships between child abuse and community violence exposure over a 1-year period. it does not account for why authoritarian parenting attitudes would be adaptive for African American families. Therefore. maltreated children. Parents may feel that thwarting child autonomy is necessary to ensure safety.sagepub. Speculating why authoritarian parenting attitudes may be associated with positive outcomes for African American families. This high rate. whereas the abuse continuity group of African American families and all of the Caucasian American families had comparable rates of relatively lower authoritarian attitudes. Moreover. especially for families living in poverty. 1995).. 2012 . 2001).. we cannot ascertain the directionality of the relationship between Downloaded from cmx. is consistent with research that has identified maternal age at first child-birth as one of the three most significant risk factors in accounting for intergenerational continuity of child abuse. 1997. higher rates of authoritarian parenting attitudes were noted among African American families in the no-continuity group only. Higher authoritarian parenting attitudes significantly predicted membership in the no-continuity group among African American families.. Though this explanation is reasonable. Moreover. Nonetheless. Because the current investigation did not obtain information regarding the specific ages when children’s self-reported abuse occurred. Increased community violence exposure was associated with greater risk for intergenerational continuity of child abuse. 2005).e.. however. we may conclude that increased authoritarian attitudes were protective for the African American families. 2004. 1996. Interestingly. but not among Caucasian American. Gunnoe & Mariner. Taylor & Roberts. specifically.. but did not differentiate between Caucasian American families who continued versus broke the intergenerational continuity of child abuse. study) is present.

we were unable to evaluate the intergenerational transmission of abuse by differentiating mothers who were victims of childhood abuse who subsequently perpetrated abuse to their own children and those who did not.sagepub. it would be ideal to assess maternal childhood 179 maltreatment history prenatally. and their relatively lower levels of authoritarian attitudes did not confer protection or risk for the intergenerational continuity of abuse among Caucasian American families. Finally. Nonetheless. 1998). utilizing multiple informants and multiple methods for assessing childhood maltreatment experiences would allow for more complete assessment of child abuse history. The current investigation has a number of substantial clinical implications. and culture in the development of parenting intervention and prevention programs for child maltreatment. and worry more about their children’s future in relation to socioeconomic hardships than do Caucasian American parents (Pinderhughes et al. intervention and preventive efforts should evaluate how to best provide parent training in ways that are respectful of authoritarian parenting attitudes. our findings highlight the need for researchers to consider the role of community violence. additional longitudinal studies are needed to track associations between prenatal authoritarian attitudes and actual parenting behavior in relation to intergenerational continuity of abuse among different racial groups. investigations. child abuse data were collected via self-report. For example. 2011). should the protective effects of authoritarian parenting attitudes among African American families continue to be supported with subsequent research. Future research should test specific mechanisms to explain why authoritarian parenting attitudes are protective for African American by marc gabriela on October 28. African American families may experience psychological distress to a heightened degree (Mcloyd. among low-income African American families. if not for actual commission of the abuse. Moreover. we were able to utilize the same metric for both mother and child report which addresses a significant limitation of prior work on the intergenerational continuity of child abuse (Berlin et al. it seems important to screen all low-income adolescent mothers for their history of childhood abuse and their exposure to community violence. and substantiations of maltreatment over time. Furthermore. subsequently. 2000). prenatal measurement of maternal trauma would ensure that her experiences as a parent do not influence reporting of her own maltreatment history. Nonetheless. 1990). but only differentiated between those who were able to break the intergenerational continuity of child abuse and those who were not among African American families. Future research should ask mothers for permission to access child welfare records to track new reports. These efforts may be informed by research that has delineated how different ecological niches contribute to parents’ goals and behavior in child rearing and how these may be differentially effective depending on the cultural context in which they are situated (Coll & Magnuson. There is evidence that this ‘‘worry’’ accounts for African American parents’ increased tendency to use physical punishment (Pinderhughes et al. 2012 . There are a number of limitations of the current investigation. authorship. 2000). race. Extrapolating these findings from physical punishment to the use of authoritarian parenting styles. it may be that increased psychological distress and parental concern for children’s futures motivates stronger authoritarian parenting attitudes among African American parents. low-income Caucasian American mothers did not possess similar rates of authoritarian attitudes relative to African American mothers. this greater control allows parents to better protect their children from childhood abuse. Though the CTQ is a standardized measure with excellent reliability and validity (Bernstein & Fink. Future research would be enhanced by thorough assessments of the perpetrator. Declaration of Conflicting Interests The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research. intervention programming should consider how to intervene against maltreatment without thwarting parenting practices that may be adaptive in particular cultural contexts. intervention programs may want to consider directly facilitating the development of these parenting attitudes among at-risk African American mothers while still reducing the use of physical punishment. neglect). and assessments of the severity and chronicity of childhood abuse experiences. the implementation of various parent training programs and their effects on risk for child maltreatment may vary based on racial context. although the CTQ has high stability overtime. targeting preventive programs to these families during pregnancy or early in their child’s life may decrease rates of intergenerational continuity of child abuse. Another limitation centers on the lack of information available on the specific perpetrators of abuse. then at least for failure to provide for children’s safety (i. First. First. mothers are almost always implicated in child welfare cases. Additionally. 1999). replication of the current results within a larger sample is necessary.. It is possible that the relatively smaller sample size of the Caucasian American group precluded our ability to detect significant effects. and/or publication of this article. enter into the design and evaluation of intervention curricula. Furthermore. With a larger sample sizes. Finally. This appears to be due to the fact that elevated levels of authoritarian attitudes were more common among African American mothers relative to Caucasian American mothers. Another explanation for why authoritarian parenting attitudes are protective among African American families may involve cultural differences in parental perceptions of danger and associated experiences of distress and worry related to their children’s future. therefore. race and culture should. authoritarian attitudes were negatively correlated with abuse.Valentino et al... Thus. but not for Caucasian American families. As the results of the current investigation suggest. community violence and intergenerational continuity of maltreatment for the Caucasian American families.. issues regarding continuity of specific maltreatment subtypes could be addressed.e. Downloaded from cmx. As such. Specifically. particularly regarding the nonsignificant relations among authoritarian parenting. even when facing the same environmental risk.

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