Exploring the Cumulative Trauma and Abusive Parenting Behaviors among United States Military-Affiliated Mothers

Erica Melissa Ponteen, Fordham University


Child maltreatment has been reported to be associated with a multitude of adverse lifetime outcomes, including those who become parents. Few studies have showed that child maltreatment has an abusive impact on parenting behaviors. This study used a secondary data analysis of a subsample of only military-affiliated mothers substantiated of exhibiting abusive parenting behaviors from the Air Force Family Advocacy System of Records (FASOR) database located at Air Force base worldwide, beginning on January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2018. This study examined the association between cumulative trauma experienced by military-affiliated mothers, their mental health concerns, and exhibited abusive parenting behaviors (physical abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect). Parental variables, parental risk factors, and case characteristics associated with cumulative trauma, abusive parenting behaviors, and potential social factors included maternal age, mental health concerns, emotional support, military status, and race. Military affiliated mothers with a cumulative trauma had higher likelihood to exhibit abusive parenting behaviors. There were no interactions between in cumulative trauma across all abusive parenting behaviors by most of the hypothesized military-affiliated mothers’ risk factors (e.g., maternal age, mental health concerns, emotional support). Active-duty military-affiliated mothers with cumulative trauma were shown to have a significantly lesser likelihood of exhibiting physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect towards their children compared to civilian military-affiliated mothers. These research findings contribute to social work literature showing that cumulative trauma is associated with the relationship of mothers’ parenting behaviors. Social work professionals can use results from this study to raise awareness and social work knowledge regarding the parenting behaviors among military-affiliated mothers.

Subject Area

Social work|Mental health|Clinical psychology|Individual & family studies

Recommended Citation

Ponteen, Erica Melissa, "Exploring the Cumulative Trauma and Abusive Parenting Behaviors among United States Military-Affiliated Mothers" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29213467.