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Association between maternal childhood trauma and offspring childhood psychopathology: mediation analysis from the ALSPAC cohort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-150
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number3
Early online date20 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017


King's Authors


Background: Studies have shown that a mother’s history of child maltreatment is associated with her child’s experience of internalising and externalising difficulties.

Aims: To characterise the mediating pathways that underpin this association.

Method: Data on a mother’s history of child maltreatment, depression during pregnancy, postnatal depression, maladaptive parenting practices and her child’s experience of maltreatment and internalising and externalising difficulties were analysed in an ALSPAC sample of 9,397 mother-child dyads followed prospectively from pregnancy to age 13.

Results: Maternal history of child maltreatment was significantly associated with offspring internalising and externalising difficulties. Maternal antenatal depression, postnatal depression and offspring child maltreatment were observed to significantly mediate this association independently.

Conclusions: Psychological and psychosocial interventions focused around treating maternal depression, particularly during pregnancy, and safeguarding against adverse childhood experiences could be offered to mothers with traumatic childhood histories to help protect against psychopathology in the next generation.

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