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Relationship Between Adult Women's Mental Health Problems and Their Childhood Experiences of Parental Violence and Psychological Aggression

NCJ Number
Journal of Family Violence Volume: 21 Issue: 7 Dated: October 2006 Pages: 439-447
Date Published
October 2006
9 pages

This study examined specifically and separately the effects of mother-to-daughter abuse and father-to-daughter abuse on adulthood outcomes for women and the relative contributions of parental physical abuse and psychological aggression to the development of adulthood mental health problems for women.


Study findings indicated that experiences of parental abuse were associated with mental health problems for women in adulthood. In the samples of women experiencing severe problems, greater levels of childhood abuse were still significantly associated with higher levels of depression, anxiety, and trauma symptoms in adulthood. In addition, both the mother and father relationships were found to be important, though in different ways. Experiences of father-to-daughter verbal aggression, moderate violence, and severe violence were found to be significantly related to higher levels of psychiatric symptoms and lower levels of self-esteem. On the other hand, experiences of mother-to-daughter verbal aggression, moderate violence, and severe violence were not found to be significantly related to level of psychiatric symptoms or level of self-esteem. Future research is recommended in examining separately the long-term effects of mother abuse and father abuse. Utilizing the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scales this study assessed retrospectively women’s childhood experiences of both mother and father physical abuse and psychological aggression, and assessed mother and father alcohol problems. The study sample consisted of 447 women from 7 domestic violence programs and 5 substance use disorder treatment programs. Tables, references

Date Published: October 1, 2006