Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 97–103 | Cite as

Does Attentional Control Mediate the Association Between Adverse Early Experiences and Child Physical Abuse Risk?

  • Julie L. Crouch
  • Christopher R. Shelton
  • Joseph R. Bardeen
  • Regina Hiraoka
  • Joel S. Milner
  • John J. Skowronski
Original Article


The present study examined the extent to which attentional control mediates the relationship between adverse early life experiences (e.g., harsh discipline, low perceived support) and child physical abuse (CPA) risk in adulthood. Participants included 138 general population parents (30.4% fathers and 69.6% mothers) who completed self-report measures of early life experiences, attentional control, and CPA risk. Results revealed that attentional control partially mediated the association between adverse early environment and CPA risk scores, Sobel test = 2.65, SE = 0.86, p = .007. More specifically, individuals exposed to adverse early environments (characterized by harsh discipline and/or low perceived support) reported lower levels of attentional control, which in turn was associated with increased risk of hostile, aggressive, and abusive parenting.


Attention Child abuse potential Parenting Intergenerational transmission 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie L. Crouch
    • 1
  • Christopher R. Shelton
    • 1
  • Joseph R. Bardeen
    • 1
  • Regina Hiraoka
    • 1
  • Joel S. Milner
    • 1
  • John J. Skowronski
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the Study of Family Violence and Sexual AssaultNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

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