Parental aggravation may tell more about a child's mental/behavioral health than Adverse Childhood Experiences: Using the 2016 National Survey of Children's Health

Bin Suh, Suniya S. Luthar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with a number of health problems and early mortality. Developmental studies have also shown strong links between parents’ contemporaneous negative feelings toward their children and the children's maladjustment. Objectives: The relative, unique contributions of ACEs and parents’ feelings of aggravation were examined in predicting to the presence of children's internalizing and externalizing problems, perseverance and emotional regulation. Also tested was the potential moderating roles of personal support and external emotional resources for parents. Participants and setting: Data from the 2016 National Survey of Children's Health were used. A random, nationally representative sample of 35,718 adult caregivers in the United States (US) with children ages 6–17 were included. Methods: Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were performed to explore the patterns of results in predicting to children's maladjustment and adjustment, separately by child sex. Results: Parental aggravation consistently had larger effects on children's maladjustment and adjustment than ACEs (1.47–1.82 timesamong males; 1.31–1.83 time among females, with one exception, i.e. internalizing problems). Personal support for parenting attenuated the relations of both ACEs and parental aggravation with children's outcomes. In the presence of external resources for parenting, children's maladjustments tended to be even more pronounced, suggesting that parents seek external resources when problem behaviors become significant in their children. Conclusion: For children at risk, future interventions should consider the value of refocusing attention from the occurrence ACEs per se, to critical, proximal indices – parents’ negative feelings around parenting – that can have stronger links with children's maladjustment and that are more amenable to change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104330
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume101
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Childhood adversity
  • Parenting
  • Resilience
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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