Study Finds Mothers Who Were Abused When They Were Young Tend to Avoid Emotional Issues With Their Children

A study by researchers at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and presented at the recent biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development in Seattle, found that mothers who were abused as children are less likely than other mothers to discuss emotional issues with their children.

The researchers found that mothers who were traumatized as children exhibited “traumatic avoidance symptoms” with their own children. These mothers showed an unwillingness to talk to their children about emotional topics.

valentino“Traumatic avoidance symptoms have been shown to have a negative impact on the cognitive and emotional development of children,” said Kristin Valentino, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame. “This research is important because it identifies a mechanism through which we can understand how maternal trauma history relates to her ability to effectively interact with her child.”

In another study, Dr. Valentino has found that an intervention program could successfully be used with mothers who were abused as children so that they were more elaborative and emotion-rich in their interactions with their preschool-aged children.

Dr. Valentino is a magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown University. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Rochester.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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