The relationship between past experiences of child abuse and current parenting practices among incarcerated women
Joo, Bernice, Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Virginia
Loper, Ann, Cu-Human Svcs, University of Virginia
Fan, Xitao, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Sheras, Peter, Cu-Human Svcs, University of Virginia
Thomas, Antoinette, Cu-Human Svcs, University of Virginia
Existing research has demonstrated a prevalence of child abuse histories among the incarcerated population. There is less known, however, about the intergenerational transmission of abuse among the incarcerated population. There is also limited research about the influence of perceptions of abuse, attitudes about discipline, and the quality of past parent-child relationships on current parenting practices. This study investigated the relationship between past experiences of abuse and current parenting practices, as well as the contribution of perceptions of abuse, discipline attitudes, and mother-child relationships, on parenting practices, above and beyond past experiences of abuse, among 199 female offenders at a maximum-security state prison. These relationships were examined by the following measures: Emotional and Physical Abuse, Parental Acceptance-Rejection Questionnaire, Parenting Attitudes, Parenting Practices.
Results indicated there was a prevalence of child abuse experiences among the incarcerated women. There were moderate correlations between past experiences of abuse and current parenting practices. The perception of having been neglected was associated with emotional abuse practices, above and beyond past experiences. Parenting attitudes contributed significantly to parenting practices, above and beyond past expenences. The mother-child relationship was not a significant predictor for parenting practices.
The association among past experiences, perceptions of abuse, discipline attitudes, mother-child relationships, and parenting practices was investigated using hierarchical multiple regression analyses. Consistent with study hypotheses, attitudes were a significant predictor for parenting practices. Contrary to existing research and study hypotheses, perceptions of abuse and the mother-child relationship did not protect against engaging in abusive practices. Possible explanations for these findings were reviewed, as well as implications for future research.
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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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