Exploration of the relationship between maternal childhood emotional abuse/neglect and parenting outcomes: a systematic review and empirical analysis
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This study investigated the relationship between maternal childhood experience of emotional abuse (CEA) and/or emotional neglect (CEN) and subsequent second-generation parenting outcomes. A systematic review of the literature was carried out, with twelve studies included for review. Evidence was found of a relationship between maternal experience of CEA/CEN and a negative impact on the subsequent parent-child relationship and parenting behaviours; including greater dysfunctional parent-child interactions, lower empathy, greater psychological control, greater child maltreatment potential and punitiveness. Evidence in relation to the impact on parenting competence was less robust. For practitioners, these findings highlight the importance of considering maternal childhood experiences when working with parents and when attempting to make sense of children's difficulties. Methodological weaknesses were highlighted and recommendations for future research made. Secondly, a cross-sectional study was carried out which explored whether early maladaptive schemas (EMSs) mediated the relationship between maternal CEA/CEN and attributions of perceived control over failure (PCF) in child care-giving interactions. Mothers (N=111) completed five self-report questionnaires in relation to the above. Multiple mediation analyses using bias corrected bootstrapping were carried out. In line with expectations, significant relationships were found between both CEA and CEN and EMSs. CEN also demonstrated both a direct and indirect effect on PCF score, via the EMSs Social Isolation/Alienation. However, the indirect effect was in the opposite direction to that predicted. No other indirect effects were found. CEA demonstrated neither a direct effect on PCF, nor an indirect effect via any of the EMSs. Results are discussed in the context of current research.