Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 24, Issue 9, pp 2817–2826 | Cite as

Pathways Linking Victimization, Depression, Personal Mastery, and Perceptions of Parenting Competence Among Low-Income Women

  • Lynette M. Renner
  • Courtenay E. Cavanaugh
  • Scott D. Easton
Original Paper


Millions of women experience childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and physical intimate partner violence (PIPV). Yet, little is known about the pathways through which these victimization experiences may impact women’s sense of their parenting competence. We conducted a secondary analysis of a dataset obtained through the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect. The purpose of our study was to examine associations between CSA, PIPV, depressive symptoms, personal mastery, and perceptions of parenting competence among low-income mothers of young children (N = 264). Our hypotheses were: (a) CSA would be positively associated with PIPV, (b) PIPV would be positively associated with depressive symptoms and negatively associated with mastery and parenting competence, and (c) the association between PIPV and women’s sense of parenting competence would be mediated by depressive symptoms and mastery. The results supported our first and third hypotheses and partially supported our second hypothesis. Our study findings suggest that interventions that reduce mothers’ depressive symptoms may also improve their perceptions of personal mastery and parenting competence.


Child sexual abuse Depression Domestic violence Intimate partner violence Parenting Low-income 



The data used in this publication were made available by the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect, Cornell University, Ithaca NY, and have been used by permission. Data from the Parenting Among Women Sexually Abused in Childhood, 1998 study, were originally collected by Mary I. Benedict, Dr. PH., M.S.W. Funding for this study was provided by the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Contract #90-CA-1544. Neither the collector of the original data, the funder, the Archive, Cornell University, or its agents or employees bear any responsibility for the analyses or interpretations presented here.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynette M. Renner
    • 1
  • Courtenay E. Cavanaugh
    • 2
  • Scott D. Easton
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyRutgers UniversityCamdenUSA
  3. 3.School of Social WorkBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA

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