Do Trauma Symptoms Mediate the Relationship Between Childhood Physical Abuse and Adult Child Abuse Risk?
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
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Although the intergenerational transmission of family violence has been well documented, the mechanisms responsible for this effect have not been fully determined. The present study examined whether trauma symptoms mediate the relationship between a history of child physical abuse CPA and adult risk of perpetrating CPA, and whether any such mediation was similar for women and men. Female and male U.S. Navy USN recruits and college students completed self-report measures of their childhood history of CPA, trauma symptoms, and adult CPA risk. As expected, there was a strong association between CPA history and adult CPA risk. This association was significant even after controlling for demographic variables and childhood exposure to other forms of violence childhood sexual abuse and intimate partner violence, and the strength of the relationship did not vary depending on demographics or exposure to other forms of violence. However, the association between CPA history and adult risk of CPA perpetration was stronger for individuals high in defensive avoidance compared with those lower in defensive avoidance. The association between a childhood history of CPA and adult CPA risk was largely, although not entirely, mediated by psychological trauma symptoms. Mediation was observed for both women and men in both the USN and college samples.
- Sociology and Law