Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Parenting Following Intimate Partner Violence: The Role of Maternal Emotion Regulation
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Post-traumatic stress symptoms are high among female survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), and children of parents experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) are at heightened risk for a wide range of emotional and behavioral problems. Parenting has significant influence on child adjustment, and although links have been found between parental psychopathology and maladaptive parenting behaviors, little is known about the factors that may explain this relation. The current study examines mother's emotion regulation (ER) as a mediator of the relation between mother PTSS and parenting, particularly around children's emotions in a study sample of sixty-four female survivors of IPV and their 6-12 year old children. Mothers reported on their own posttraumatic stress symptoms and their parenting. Mother's ER was measured by observer coding of the Meta-Emotion Interview (Katz & Gottman, 1986), a structured assessment that asks parents about their attitudes towards and experiences with emotions, including their regulation of emotions. Mothers' total trauma symptom severity showed a significant indirect effect on supportive parenting reactions around children's emotions via mothers' emotion regulation. Results suggest that mother's ER abilities represent factors that significantly impact associations between maternal PTSS and parenting practices around children's experiences of emotion, particularly in regards to adaptive parenting responses. Implications for assessment and intervention with families exposed to the stress of IPV are discussed.
- Psychology