Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma and Family Systems Theory: An Empirical Investigation
Child and Family Studies
© 2020 The Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice Research indicates that intergenerational transmission of trauma often leads to behavioural and emotional problems in children of parents with a history of trauma; however, intervening pathways are less well understood. The current study used the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN; Runyan et al., 1998) data set. Among a sample of 361 mothers involved with child welfare services or ‘at risk’ of becoming involved in the future, we explored harsh parenting and couple relationship quality as mechanisms in the transmission of maternal trauma to changes in children’s behavioural and emotional problems over a two-year period. Findings indicate that verbal aggression predicted children’s internalising and externalising issues, but negative relationship quality was the only significant mechanism linking maternal trauma to children’s mental health problems. Clinical implications are discussed. Practitioner points: Trauma has a twofold effect on women’s romantic relationships, increasing negative qualities and decreasing positive qualities Providing a trauma-informed approach to therapy with a focus on the negative relationship quality can reduce harsh parenting and a child’s internalising symptomology.
Journal of Family Therapy
(2020). Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma and Family Systems Theory: An Empirical Investigation. Journal of Family Therapy, 42(3), 406-424.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/18247