Animal and human studies suggest that parenting style is transmitted from one generation to the next. The hypotheses of this study were that (1) a mother's rearing experiences (G1) would predict her own parenting resources (G2) and (2) current maternal mood, motivation to care for her offspring, and relationship with her parents would underlie this association. In a subsample of 201 first-time mothers participating in the longitudinal Maternal Adversity, Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment project, we assessed a mother's own childhood maltreatment and rearing experiences (G1) using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire and the Parental Bonding Instrument. At 6 months postpartum, mothers completed questionnaires on parenting stress (G2), symptoms of depression, maternal motivation, and current relationship with their own parents. The sample consisted of mostly high socioeconomic status mothers recruited from Montréal (n = 135) or Hamilton (n = 66), Canada, with an age range from 18 to 43 years (M = 29.41, SD = 4.85 years). More severe maltreatment and less supportive rearing by the mother's parents (G1) predicted increased parenting stress at 6 months (G2). These associations were mediated through distinct psychosocial pathways: maltreatment (G1) on parenting stress (G2) through symptoms of depression (Z = 2.297; p = .022); maternal rearing (G1) on parenting stress (G2) through maternal motivation (Z = -2.155; p = .031) and symptoms of depression (Z = -1.842; p = .065); and paternal rearing (G1) on parenting stress (G2) through current relationship with the father (Z = -2.617; p = .009). Maternal rearing experiences predict a mother's own parenting resources though distinct psychosocial pathways, including depressed mood, maternal motivation, and social support.
Keywords: Childhood maltreatment; Maternal cognition; Maternal motivation; Parenting stress; Social support; Symptoms of depression.