Intergenerational Transmission of Abuse: Implications for Parenting Interventions From a Neuropsychological Perspective
Neuroimaging provides robust evidence to demonstrate the functional and structural deficits in childhood and adult survivors of child maltreatment. These deficits mirror the neurocircuitry involved in parenting. Despite this, research into the mechanisms behind the intergenerational transmission of abuse fails to acknowledge the contribution of brain development on future parenting ability. A discussion of the cognitive, social, and emotional deficits of child and adult survivors of childhood maltreatment is presented. This is followed by a critical overview of how current parenting interventions fail to take into account the neuropsychological mechanisms behind the intergenerational transmission of abuse. A conceptual model of the neuropsychological transmission of childhood maltreatment is presented. This model will allow child welfare practitioners to gain a greater understanding of the specific deficits of individuals who have experienced childhood maltreatment and how parenting interventions may be enhanced for this population. This represents one step forward in breaking the cycle of the intergenerational transmission of childhood maltreatment.