Dyadic Parent-Adolescent Relationship Quality As Pathways From Maternal Childhood Abuse To Adolescent Psychopathology

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Child and Family Studies


Children of maternal caregivers abused in childhood are at increased risk for mental health problems including anxiety and depression. To date, most studies exploring the intergenerational transmission of trauma have focused on younger children, with far fewer studies investigating adolescent mental health. Previous research suggests that maternal childhood abuse negatively impacts the parent–adolescent relationship, which may contribute to the development and maintenance of adolescent mental health problems. The current study examined dyadic reports of maternal–adolescent relationship quality as mediators linking maternal reports of childhood abuse to adolescent depression and anxiety. The bootstrapped indirect effects from maternal childhood abuse to adolescent symptoms of anxiety and depression were significant through adolescent reports of relationship quality, but not through maternal reports of relationship quality. Findings suggest that an adolescent's perception of their maternal–adolescent relationship may mediate the relationship between their maternal caregiver's childhood abuse and their own symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Publication Title

Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

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