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Modeling Risk for Child Abuse and Harsh Parenting in Families With Depressed and Substance-Abusing Parents

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Modeling Risk for Child Abuse and Harsh Parenting in Families With Depressed and Substance-Abusing Parents

Michelle L Kelley et al. Child Abuse Negl.

Abstract

Children with substance abusing parents are at considerable risk for child maltreatment. The current study applied an actor-partner interdependence model to examine how father only (n=52) and dual couple (n=33) substance use disorder, as well as their depressive symptomology influenced parents' own (actor effects) and the partner's (partner effects) overreactivity in disciplinary interactions with their children, as well as their risk for child maltreatment. Parents completed the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D; Radloff, 1977), the overreactivity subscale from the Parenting Scale (Arnold, O'Leary, Wolff, & Acker, 1993), and the Brief Child Abuse Potential Inventory (Ondersma, Chaffin, Mullins, & LeBreton, 2005). Results of multigroup structural equation models revealed that a parent's own report of depressive symptoms predicted their risk for child maltreatment in both father SUD and dual SUD couples. Similarly, a parent's report of their own depressive symptoms predicted their overreactivity in disciplinary encounters both in father SUD and dual SUD couples. In all models, partners' depressive symptoms did not predict their partner's risk for child maltreatment or overreactivity. Findings underscore the importance of a parent's own level of depressive symptoms in their risk for child maltreatment and for engaging in overreactivity during disciplinary episodes.

Keywords: Child maltreatment; Depression; Substance use disorder.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Fitted multigroup model predicting fathers’ and mothers’ child abuse potential. Numbers are unstandardized parameter estimates. Numbers are unstandardized parameter estimates. All direct effects are constrained to equality across couple type.*p < .001.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Fitted multigroup model predicting fathers’ and mothers’ overreactivity. Numbers are unstandardized parameter estimates. All direct effects are constrained to equality across couple type.*p < .001.

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