Overwhelmed by Emotion: Pathways from Revictimization to Mothers’ Negative Emotional Responsivity

Christina Gamache Martin, Hyoun K. Kim, Jennifer J. Freyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Maternal history of childhood abuse has consistently been linked to increased risk for poor emotional adjustment and parenting as an adult. The aim of this study was to examine a model that may explain the link between maternal history of childhood abuse and mothers’ tendencies to respond negatively to their adolescent children's negative emotions. A community sample of 66 mothers with adolescent children participated. Path analysis supported associations between mothers with a history of high betrayal trauma revictimization (i.e., trauma perpetrated by someone close to the mother during childhood and again as a young adult) and increased difficulty regulating their emotions. In turn, mothers who struggled to regulate their own emotions were also more likely to respond negatively to their adolescent's negative emotions. Findings highlight effects of childhood trauma may be particularly problematic for mothers who are revictimized as young adults. These results provide the foundation for future research evaluating clinical interventions targeted at increasing maternal emotion regulation skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-959
Number of pages13
JournalFamily Process
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Family Process Institute

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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