Author(s): Ruscio AM, Ruscio AM, Ruscio AM, Ruscio AM
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: Although empirical investigations have established a relationship between childhood sexual abuse and numerous long-term consequences, surprisingly little research has addressed the possible effects of childhood victimization on the later child-rearing practices of adult survivors. The present study examined hypothesized predictors of three parenting styles among adult survivors of sexual abuse as compared with adult children of alcoholic parents. METHOD: Forty-five clinical outpatients completed a questionnaire battery assessing experiences of childhood abuse, current economic and social resources, and parenting attitudes and practices. The child-rearing practices of participants were compared with those reported by a community sample of 717 mothers. Additional analyses examined the extent to which sexual abuse and its adult sequelae predicted the parenting behaviors reported by the present sample. RESULTS: Both sexual abuse survivors and children of alcoholics reported significantly higher rates of permissive parenting practices than mothers in the community sample. Multiple regression analyses further revealed unique relationships between sexual abuse and parenting, over and above the variance explained by physical abuse, current socioeconomic status, and the experience of growing up in an alcoholic home. Mothers' sexual abuse severity, social support satisfaction, and dysfunctional parenting attitudes moderated several of these relationships. CONCLUSIONS: The present findings suggest that sexual abuse and its adult sequelae may have negative consequences for the parenting practices of survivors, particularly for survivors' ability to provide their children with appropriate structure, consistent discipline, and clear behavioral expectations. Implications for the psychosocial development of survivors' children are discussed.
This article was published in Child Abuse Negl
and referenced in Journal of Child and Adolescent Behavior