Publication date: January 2020
Source: Child Abuse & Neglect, Volume 99
Author(s): Cliff McKinney, Melanie Stearns, Mary M. Rogers
Many studies have examined the link between childhood maltreatment and outcomes, but few have focused on children who experience maltreatment from both their mothers and fathers and how they might differ from children who experience maltreatment from one parent only. Even fewer studies have used dyadic concordance types (e.g., pairs of parents engaging in a behavior or not) to examine how offspring maltreatment impacts offspring psychological problems.
The current study examined the effects of adult offspring physical and psychological maltreatment as perpetrated by mothers only, fathers only, both parents, and neither parent over the past year on emerging adult college student psychological problems while examining parent and adult offspring gender effects. Participants and Setting: Participants included 2374 emerging adult college students at a Southern university.
Participants reported on their parents’ past year use of physical assault and psychological aggression against them as well as their own psychological problems.
Results suggest that the highest frequency of reported maltreatment occurred from both parents and not one parent only. Males reported higher maltreatment than females except when examining psychological aggression from mothers only, where females reported double the rate as males. Generally, emerging adult college students who reported physical assault or psychological aggression by both parents also reported the highest depressive, anxiety, and antisocial problems.
Overall, results generally indicated that maltreatment experienced from both parents was associated with more severe psychological outcomes than if experienced from only one parent.