Maternal sensitivity as a moderator of the relation between maternal maltreatment history and child executive function
thesisposted on 24.05.2021, 10:44 by Arielle Dryer
Parenting is linked to child executive function, however support for this association is inconsistent. Further, little research has addressed the link between maternal maltreatment history and child executive function, despite findings that maternal maltreatment history is associated with child outcomes linked to executive function. I hypothesised that maternal sensitivity moderates the association between maternal maltreatment history and child executive function, such that maltreatment history is negatively associated with executive function for less sensitive mothers. Maternal maltreatment history was assessed via self-report at child age 3 months. Maternal sensitivity was assessed observationally at child age 8 months and child executive function was assessed using performance-based measures at child age 3 years. Results indicate that higher maternal maltreatment history is negatively associated with child executive function, only when mothers are relatively insensitive. Results elucidate mixed findings on parenting and child executive function by introducing a model that accounts for past maternal experiences.