The relationship of parental emotional maltreatment to children's developmental outcomes

Eliana Bojkova, Pace University

Abstract

Research shows that seriously rejected and verbally abused children can have intense and long lasting problems, such as insecure attachment styles, behavior problems and high rates of depression and anxiety. Furthermore, based on the idea of intergenerational transmission of parenting, abusive parents are more likely to have been abused as children themselves than non-abusive parents. The present research integrates these theories by examining the possible long-term negative effects of the perceived emotional abuse of young adults. The study investigated whether the level of the perceived emotional maltreatment influences one's self-esteem, level of depression, and perceptions of parenting and the parent role. ^ The sample for this study consisted of 198 undergraduate freshmen and sophomore students recruited from a private urban university. Participation in the research was voluntary and anonymous. The participants completed self-report measures during a pre arranged class time. The results reveal that higher levels of perceived verbal abuse in childhood are related to higher levels of depressive symptoms and lower levels of self-esteem, as reported by the participants. In addition, perceived parental verbal aggression is found to be a significant negative predictor for participants' perceptions of the six parenting characteristics associated with the Parent Developmental Theory, in terms of both importance and frequency. Results also indicate that participants' level of depression is found to be a significant negative predictor for their ratings of nearly all parenting characteristics in terms of both importance and frequency. In contrast, participants' level of self-esteem is not a significant predictor for ratings of the six parenting characteristics. ^ Until recently, the long-term effects of emotional abuse have not been the focus of research due, in part, to the difficulties in defining, assessing and studying this type of maltreatment. Therefore, one of the major implications of this study is demonstrating possible long-term negative effects of emotional abuse, thus raising awareness that psychological maltreatment of children may create a cycle of emotional abuse that could be transmitted from one generation to the next. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental

Recommended Citation

Eliana Bojkova, "The relationship of parental emotional maltreatment to children's developmental outcomes" (January 1, 2007). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI3272235.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI3272235

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