Influences of Childhood Abuse on Parenting Perspectives of Pregnant Cohabitors

Najah E. Swartz, Deborah J. Mercier, Melissa A. Curran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Using thematic analysis, we examine the effects of childhood abuse regarding parenthood for pregnant cohabitors from qualitative interviews. Participants (N = 18; 10 women and 8 men) recalled childhood abuse during the Adult Attachment Interview. Three themes emerged: (1) "Learning what not to do," whereby abuse is discussed as something not to continue, and harmful toward children; (2) "Use but modify parents' discipline," whereby individuals state that they will employ methods of their parents, but in ways different for their children; and (3) "Ambiguous," whereby discussions are unclear and confused about how the abuse will affect their parenting. These results suggest that even when pregnant cohabitors want to parent differently than their own parents, they may not have relevant models or skills. For practitioners, we suggest interventions aimed at providing alternative models for how to parent, and effective and appropriate disciplining methods, as ways to deter intergenerational abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-606
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Childhood abuse
  • Cohabitors
  • Parenthood
  • Pregnancy
  • Thematic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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