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Mothers’ insightfulness regarding their children’s inner world: associations with mothers’ history of sexual abuse and lack of resolution of the trauma

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The study examined the insightfulness of mothers who experienced Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA). Based on attachment theory, we hypothesized that mothers who experienced CSA will be less insightful than those who did not experience CSA, and that state of mind with no marked signs of lack of resolution of the trauma can buffer against its negative effects. The insightfulness of 30 mothers who experienced CSA and 30 demographically matched mothers but with no CSA was assessed using the Insightfulness Assessment. Mothers’ lack of resolution of the trauma was assessed using the Adult Attachment Interview. In addition, maternal psychopathology was assessed using the Brief Symptom Inventory. As hypothesized, mothers who experienced CSA were less insightful than mothers who did not experience CSA. In addition, mothers who experienced CSA but who were not unresolved were more insightful than those who were unresolved, and no different than mothers who did not experience CSA. These results expand our understanding regarding the risk embedded in parenting in light of unresolved traumatic past and the importance of resolution as a buffer.
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Keywords: Childhood Sexual Abuse; Insightfulness; maternal attachment; parenting; resolution of a trauma

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Center for the Study of Child Development, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel 2: School of Social Work, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel

Publication date: November 2, 2019

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