Parenting style history in predicting harsh parenting and child abuse risk across the transition to parenthood: Role of gender

Academic Article


  • Background: Intergenerational transmission of abuse processes imply that individuals abused as children are more likely to abuse their own children when they become parents, with similar intergenerational patterns observed for parenting styles. Objective: The present study addresses an important gap in the literature regarding the intergenerational cycle, investigating how perceived parenting style history predicts mothers' and fathers' child abuse risk across the transition to parenthood, with particular attention to the role of gender by comparing cross-gender and same-gender grandparent-parent dyads. Participants and methods: The sample is drawn from a four-wave longitudinal study that enrolled 203 families beginning the final trimester of mothers' pregnancy until children were four years old. Parents responded to measures on parenting style history received from both their mothers and fathers as well as measures of their own child abuse risk, parent-child aggression, and personal parenting style. Results: Mothers demonstrated more same-gender effects, whereas fathers demonstrated more cross-gender effects–both patterns supportive of a tendency to follow maternal influences when considering child abuse risk. With regards to behavior, both mothers' and fathers' reports of parent-children aggression were most influenced by perceived harsh parenting received from their fathers. Conclusions: Future development of parenting interventions could be more individualized to the participating parent's reported personal history of parenting style and gender.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Morgan CH; Pu DF; Rodriguez CM
  • Volume

  • 127