Intergenerational continuity in child maltreatment: mediating mechanisms and implications for prevention

Child Dev. Jan-Feb 2011;82(1):162-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01547.x.


In the interest of improving child maltreatment prevention, this prospective, longitudinal, community-based study of 499 mothers and their infants examined (a) direct associations between mothers' experiences of childhood maltreatment and their offspring's maltreatment, and (b) mothers' mental health problems, social isolation, and social information processing patterns (hostile attributions and aggressive response biases) as mediators of these associations. Mothers' childhood physical abuse--but not neglect--directly predicted offspring victimization. This association was mediated by mothers' social isolation and aggressive response biases. Findings are discussed in terms of specific implications for child maltreatment prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / prevention & control*
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child Rearing
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology*
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intergenerational Relations*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Isolation
  • Young Adult