Developmental pathways from maternal history of childhood maltreatment and maternal depression to toddler attachment and early childhood behavioral outcomes

Michelle E. Alto, Jennifer M. Warmingham, Elizabeth D. Handley, Fred Rogosch, Dante Cicchetti, Sheree L. Toth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The current study examined the development of toddler attachment and early childhood behavior among children of mothers with a history of childhood maltreatment and current major depressive disorder. Maternal depression, maternal sensitivity, and toddler attachment were assessed as mediators of the association between maternal history of childhood maltreatment and child internalizing and externalizing behavior. Participants were from a low-income, largely racial minority urban sample and included 123 mothers with (n = 69) and without (n = 54) major depressive disorder at baseline and their children assessed at 12, 26, and 36 months old. Findings suggest maternal depression and maternal sensitivity mediated the association between maternal history of childhood maltreatment and disorganized attachment. Maternal depression, but not disorganized attachment, mediated the association between maternal history of childhood maltreatment and child symptomatology. Results suggest that supporting mothers through depression and processing their adverse childhood experiences are critical in fostering positive child development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages22
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Early online dateMar 4 2020
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - Mar 4 2020

Keywords

  • child behavior
  • developmental psychopathology
  • maternal depression
  • Maternal history of childhood maltreatment
  • maternal sensitivity
  • toddler attachment

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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