Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Anne P. DePrince, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jennifer Erikson-Cornish

Third Advisor

Stephen Shirk

Fourth Advisor

Wyndol Furman

Fifth Advisor

Julia Dmitrieva


Child abuse, Development of psychopathology, Intergenerational transmission of trauma, Parent-child relationship, Trauma-related cognitions


The purpose of this study was to elucidate cognitive and behavioral mechanisms involved in the intergenerational transmission of trauma from abuse-survivor mothers to their toddler/preschool-aged children. This study investigated whether maternal trauma-related cognitions, i.e. child abuse-related appraisals (betrayal, self-blame, fear, anger, shame, alienation), disorganized memory and intrusive memory for abuse were associated with toddler internalizing and externalizing symptoms, and whether mother-child dysfunctional interactions mediated these relationships among a sample of 113 mothers who survived child abuse. When controlling for maternal trauma symptoms, maternal child abuse-related appraisals, disorganized memory, and trauma symptoms predicted toddler internalizing symptoms, whereas maternal intrusive memory and trauma symptoms predicted toddler externalizing symptoms. Maternal child abuse-related appraisals and disorganized memory were also associated with more dysfunction in the mother-child relationship. Higher levels of maternal shame were associated with more toddler internalizing and externalizing symptoms. More betrayal but less fear among abuse-survivor mothers was associated with toddler externalizing symptoms. These findings provide preliminary evidence in support of maternal trauma-related cognitions as mechanisms for the intergenerational transmission of trauma.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Rebecca Lynne Babcock Fenerci


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

48 p.


Psychology, Clinical Psychology