The Impact of Childhood Abuse on Women's and Men's Perceived Parenting: Implications for Practitioners


gender, parent, family therapy, childhood abuse, abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse


Three hundred eighty-eight women and two hundred ninety-six men, all parents, provided intake data at a university family therapy clinic. Among self-report items completed were questions relating to childhood abuse, perceived parenting, depressive feelings, hardiness, and current relationship functioning. Results indicated that physical abuse in childhood for women significantly influenced perceptions of their relationships with children; abuse was not significantly associated with later parenting for men. Childhood physical abuse for women and sexual abuse for men were significantly associated with hardiness, which was significantly associated with feeling depressed and perceived parenting for both genders. Race, income level, and substance abuse were not significant predictors or mediators in the model. Results suggest more gender similarities than differences when considering the association between retrospective, self-reported childhood abuse and later views of perceptions of parenting. The results suggest clinicians assess for and foster hardiness in clients that experienced childhood abuse and struggle with parenting issues as adults.

Original Publication Citation

Sandberg, J.G, Feldhousen, E.B., & Busby, D. (2012). The Impact of Childhood Physical and Sexual Abuse on Women’s and Men’s Perceived Parenting: Implications for Practitioners. American Journal of Family Therapy, 40, 74-91.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


The American Journal of Family Therapy




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor