Although childhood maltreatment has been shown to compromise adaptive parental behavior, little is known what happens in terms of physiological regulation when parents with a history of childhood maltreatment interact with their offspring. Using a sample of 229 parents (131 women), the present study examined whether childhood maltreatment experiences are associated with parents’ behavioral and autonomic responses while resolving conflict with their offspring. Self‐reported experienced child maltreatment was measured using a questionnaire assessing abuse and neglect. Parents (Mage = 52.7 years, rangeage = 26.6–88.4 years) and their offspring (Mage = 24.6 years, rangeage = 7.5–65.6 years) participated in a videotaped parent–offspring conflict interaction task. Parental warmth, negativity, and emotional support were coded. In addition, their pre‐ejection period and respiratory sinus arrhythmia were measured as indicators of underlying sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system reactivity, respectively. Findings demonstrated that experiences of abuse and neglect were associated with behavioral and physiological responses in different ways. Separating these two types of maltreatment in research and in clinical practice might be important.

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Keywords childhood maltreatment, parenting behavior, physiological reactivity, pre‐ejection period, respiratory sinus arrhythmia
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Journal Developmental Psychobiology
Buisman, R.S.M, Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., Pittner, K., Compier-De Block, L.H.C.G., van den Berg, L.J.M., van IJzendoorn, M.H, … Alink, LRA. (2018). Parents’ experiences of childhood abuse and neglect are differentially associated with behavioral and autonomic responses to their offspring. Developmental Psychobiology, 61(6), 888–902. doi:10.1002/dev.21822