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Parental Child Abuse Potential and Subsequent Coping Competence in Disadvantaged Preschool Children: Moderating Effects of Sex and Ethnicity

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 36 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2012 Pages: 226-235
Cristina M. Lopez; Angela Moreland Begle; Jean E. Dumas; Michael A. de Arellano
Date Published
March 2012
10 pages
This study investigated child competence across three domains in the presence of the potential for parental child abuse.
Findings from the study include the following: 1) the children in the study modeled their coping strategies after the ones used by their parents; 2) the presence of child behavior problems had a negative impact on the children's affective, achievement, and social coping competencies; 3) girls in the study demonstrated higher levels of coping competence than boys on all three of the domains; and 4) no longitudinal associations were found between parental child abuse potential and subsequent child coping competence. The focus of the study was to determine whether the potential for parental child abuse significantly affected child competence across three domains: social, affective, and achievement. Data for the study were obtained from a large intervention project, the Parenting Our Children to Excellence (PACE) project. PACE is a behaviorally oriented preventive intervention that works to promote harmonious parent-child interactions in low- and high-risk families, leading to an increase in the likelihood of positive child and parent outcomes. The study results indicate that while parental child abuse potential is negatively related to child affective and achievement coping competence, over time, externalizing symptoms exhibited by children are predictive of subsequent child coping competencies rather than parental child abuse potential. Study limitations and directions for future research are discussed. Tables and references