The Impact of Extreme Emotional Distance in the Mother-Child Relationship on the Offspring's Future Risk of Maltreatment Perpetration

Yuko Okado, Sandra T. Azar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Emotional qualities of the parent-child relationship are thought to influence the offspring's risk for perpetrating child maltreatment in adulthood. The current study examined whether having grown up in an enmeshed or disengaged mother-child relationship, hence a relationship characterized by extremes on the continuum of emotional distance, increased the offspring's risk of child maltreatment perpetration in a sample of 178 undergraduate students attending a large rural public university. A history of extreme emotional distance experienced with mothers significantly increased the grown offspring's risk of maltreatment perpetration, as measured by two risk indicators. Emotional reactivity, but not empathy, mediated this effect for the offspring's child abuse potential. Extreme amounts of emotional distance within the mother-child relationship also predicted the offspring's child abuse potential over and above maltreatment occurring in that relationship, whereas maltreatment rather than emotional distance predicted the offspring's unrealistic expectations of children. Clinical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-452
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Volume26
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Impact of Extreme Emotional Distance in the Mother-Child Relationship on the Offspring's Future Risk of Maltreatment Perpetration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this