Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

November 2003


Published in Child Maltreatment, Vol. 8, No. 4 (November 2003), pp. 319-333. Copyright © 2003 Sage Publications. Used by permission.


This article reviews research on the parenting characteristics of female survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). Various aspects of parenting are considered, including (a) childbearing patterns, (b) the intergenerational transmission of CSA, (c) maternal reactions to child CSA disclosure, (d) parenting skills and behaviors, (e) parental violence toward children, (f) attitudes toward parenting, and (g) adjustment of survivors’ children. Overall patterns suggest CSA survivors may experience difficulties with some aspects of parenting. Among the more consistent trends are findings that survivors may have difficulties establishing clear generational boundaries with their children, may be more permissive as parents, and may be more likely to use harsh physical discipline. Despite associations between CSA and parenting diffi culties, the limited research addressing specifi c aspects of parenting, and limitations in study design, preclude causal inferences and make conclusions tentative at the present time. The clinical implications of this work and directions for future research are discussed.