Mothering under political violence: Post‐traumatic symptoms, observed maternal parenting practices and child externalising behaviour

Osnat Zamir, Abigail H. Gewirtz, Rachel Dekel, Tamar Lavi, Gali Tangir
Published Online:
10 Dec 2018

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Using the family stress model as our conceptual framework, we explored whether observed maternal parenting practices (positive and coercive) account for the associations between mothers' post‐traumatic stress symptoms and children's externalising behaviours. Mothers' self‐reported post‐traumatic stress symptoms, observed maternal practices, and reports of children's externalising behaviour were collected from 123 Israeli mothers and their children, who were exposed to ongoing rocket attacks in southern Israel. A structural equation model revealed that mothers' post‐traumatic stress symptoms were linked with greater maternal coercive parenting practices, which in turn were associated with more externalising behaviours in children. The study highlights the crucial role of maternal distress and mothers' parenting skills in the development of externalising behaviours in children exposed to chronic political violence. These results suggest that prevention interventions designed to promote parenting skills for mothers exposed to political violence may be beneficial for children's healthy development.

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