The association between historical childhood sexual abuse and later parenting stress : a systematic review

Hugill, Melanie and Berry, Katherine and Fletcher, Ian John (2017) The association between historical childhood sexual abuse and later parenting stress : a systematic review. Archives of Women's Mental Health, 20 (2). pp. 257-271. ISSN 1435-1102

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An individual’s own experiences of childhood and being parented are likely to be key determinants of their later parenting experiences. Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is arguably the most toxic experience to occur in childhood and therefore may be particularly likely to impact on parenting stress in the context of parenting one’s own children. This paper aims to review studies investigating associations between earlier CSA and later parenting to determine the size and consistency of the effects, identify any mediators and moderators of the relationship, and assess the quality of the evidence base. PsycINFO, Academic Search Complete, CINAHL, MEDLINE, Web of Science, PubMed and PILOTS were searched from date of inception until 4th March 2016 and 14 studies met the inclusion criteria. Seven studies indicated a degree of direct association between experiencing CSA and later parenting stress, two studies found no association and five studies suggest that other variables such as locus of control and current stressors may affect the relationship between CSA and parenting stress. Additionally, 10 studies suggest an indirect relationship between CSA and parenting stress through current level of depression. Results suggest the existence of a relationship between CSA and parenting stress though this association is mostly mediated by other variables, including depression and other stressors. Clearer definitions of CSA and use of validated questionnaires are essential to progress this field of research.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Archives of Women's Mental Health
Additional Information:
c The Author(s) 2017. This article is published with open access at
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? childhood sexual abuse (csa)parenting stresssystematic reviewpsychiatry and mental healthobstetrics and gynaecology ??
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Deposited On:
06 Mar 2017 15:02
Last Modified:
28 Nov 2023 11:25