Maternal abuse history and self-regulation difficulties in preadolescence

Brianna C. Delker, Laura K. Noll, Hyoun K. Kim, Philip A. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Although poor parenting is known to be closely linked to self-regulation difficulties in early childhood, comparatively little is understood about the role of other risk factors in the early caregiving environment (such as a parent's own experiences of childhood abuse) in developmental pathways of self-regulation into adolescence. Using a longitudinal design, this study aimed to examine how a mother's history of abuse in childhood relates to her offspring's self-regulation difficulties in preadolescence. Maternal controlling parenting and exposure to intimate partner aggression in the child's first 24-36 months were examined as important early social and environmental influences that may explain the proposed connection between maternal abuse history and preadolescent self-regulation. An ethnically diverse sample of mothers (. N=. 488) who were identified as at-risk for child maltreatment was recruited at the time of their children's birth. Mothers and their children were assessed annually from the child's birth through 36 months, and at age 9-11 years. Structural equation modeling and bootstrap tests of indirect effects were conducted to address the study aims. Findings indicated that maternal abuse history indirectly predicted their children's self-regulation difficulties in preadolescence mainly through maternal controlling parenting in early childhood, but not through maternal exposure to aggression by an intimate partner. Maternal history of childhood abuse and maternal controlling parenting in her child's early life may have long-term developmental implications for child self-regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2033-2043
Number of pages11
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Intergenerational transmission
  • Maternal abuse history
  • Parenting characteristics
  • Preadolescence
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Maternal abuse history and self-regulation difficulties in preadolescence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this