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Intergenerational associations in physical maltreatment: Examination of mediation by delinquency and substance use, and moderated mediation by anger

  • Deborah M. Capaldi (a1), Stacey S. Tiberio (a1) (a2), Katherine C. Pears (a1), David C. R. Kerr (a1) (a3) and Lee D. Owen (a1)...


Findings as to whether individuals’ experiences of physical maltreatment from their parents in childhood predict their own perpetration of physical maltreatment toward their children in adulthood are mixed. Whether the maltreatment experienced is severe versus moderate or mild may relate to the strength of intergenerational associations. Furthermore, understanding of the roles of possible mediators (intervening mechanisms linking these behaviors) and moderators of the intervening mechanisms (factors associated with stronger or weaker mediated associations) is still relatively limited. These issues were examined in the present study. Mediating mechanisms based on a social learning model included antisocial behavior as assessed by criminal behaviors and substance use (alcohol and drug use), and the extent to which parental angry temperament moderated any indirect effects of antisocial behavior was also examined. To address these issues, data were used from Generations 2 and 3 of a prospective three-generational study, which is an extension of the Oregon Youth Study. Findings indicated modest intergenerational associations for severe physical maltreatment. There was a significant association of maltreatment history, particularly severe maltreatment with mothers’ and fathers’ delinquency. However, neither delinquency nor substance use showed significant mediational effects, and parental anger as a moderator of mediation did not reach significance.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Deborah M. Capaldi, Oregon Social Learning Center, 10 Shelton McMurphey Blvd, Eugene, Oregon, 97410; E-mail:


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Intergenerational associations in physical maltreatment: Examination of mediation by delinquency and substance use, and moderated mediation by anger

  • Deborah M. Capaldi (a1), Stacey S. Tiberio (a1) (a2), Katherine C. Pears (a1), David C. R. Kerr (a1) (a3) and Lee D. Owen (a1)...


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