The experience of child abuse of teenage mothers and their caregiving representations
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Teenage motherhood is often an indirect effect of abusive experiences of young mother in her childhood and a risk factor for less optimal development of the mother-child relation. The quality of maternal caregiving representations plays a significant role in the development of both, mother-child relation and child attachment quality. In the present study I asked the question to what extent the early age of childbirth of mother is also linked to the quality of maternal caregiving representation. Two groups of preschool children’s mothers were compared in terms of the frequency of their childhood abusive experiences and their caregiving representations (trust, helplessness & and attempt to control, distancing in caregiving relation). Mothers who gave birth under the age of 18 years (N = 34) reported more experiences of emotional, physical, sexual abuse and negligence and demonstrated a lower level of trust in caregiving relation and a higher level of helplessness and attempts to control as compared to those who gave birth at the age of 25 or later (N = 36). To establish predictors of the caregiving representations quality, the stepwise linear regression analysis was performed. The sum of abusive experiences in childhood and the age of the child were main predictors of the caregiving representations quality. The age of childbirth was a significant (but the weakest) predictor only in the case of helplessness and attempts to control in caregiving relation. The results and limitations of the study were discussed and the directions for further research were indicated.
- DOI: 10.14656/PFP20160403
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