Intergenerational Patterns of Maltreatment in Families at Risk for Foster Care

Lenore M. Mcwey, Andrea L. Pazdera, Amber Vennum, Armeda S. Wojciak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Few qualitative studies have investigated the process of parental efforts to break intergenerational patterns of maltreatment. A grounded theory approach was used to understand how 24 parents who had been identified by CPS as being at-risk of having their children removed from their homes due to allegations of abuse and/or neglect, perceived and connected their own experiences of childhood abuse in light of their experiences as alleged perpetrators of child maltreatment. Three major categories were identified: patterns, beliefs, and behaviors. A majority of the parents stated that they recognized intergenerational patterns, most expressed that they wanted to be different from their own parents, yet many described parenting actions that were "destructive." We suggest that it is the interrelationship amongst patterns, beliefs, and behaviors that may offer opportunities for parents and therapists to enact change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-147
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of marital and family therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


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