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Browsing by Subject "reproductive trauma"

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  • Suutari, Alma (2023)
    Objective: The effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on physical and mental health have been widely recognized, but the research on the effects of ACEs on parenting is limited. Maternal ACEs can lead to vulnerability to subsequent stress. Transition to motherhood can be stressful, especially when becoming a parent is complicated by experiences of reproductive trauma (infertility and/or reproductive loss). It is important to examine these associations to prevent intergenerational effects of maternal trauma. The aim of this thesis is to examine the effects of ACEs and reproductive trauma on Emotional Availability (EA) and Parenting Self-Efficacy (PSE) during pregnancy and/or postpartum. This is the first study to also include analysis of possible moderating effects of maternal ACEs on the associations between reproductive trauma and parenting outcomes. Methods: The current investigation is a part of a larger study on the effectiveness of community-based parenting interventions for at risk families conducted by Tampere University, University of Helsinki, and University of Turku. The sample included 251 mothers, comprising 100 expecting mothers and 151 mothers with a 0–12-month-old infant. 67% of the sample participated in community-based interventions around the capital area of Finland, and they were asked to participate in the study at the start of the intervention. 33% of the sample were recruited during routine visits to the well-baby clinics in the capital area of Finland. The current investigation was conducted using baseline data collected at the beginning of the interventions. This self-reported questionnaire included measures for ACEs (Revised inventory of Adverse Childhood Experiences), self-reported parenting outcomes EA (Emotional Availability Self-Report) and PSE (Parenting Self-efficacy Scale), and experiences of reproductive trauma (infertility and/or reproductive loss). The effects of ACEs, reproductive trauma and moderating effects of ACEs on reproductive trauma on parenting outcomes were analyzed using linear regressions. Results and conclusions: Maternal ACEs were associated with lower prenatal EA and prenatal PSE in expecting mothers, but not in mothers with infants. Reproductive trauma or the interaction of ACEs and reproductive trauma were not associated with either parenting outcome in expecting mothers or mothers with infants. It is possible that parenting representations during pregnancy are more vulnerable to the effects of ACEs and that positive experiences of birth and interacting with the baby moderates these effects. Longitudinal studies are needed to further examine the effects of ACEs and parenting outcomes in the transition to parenthood. Reproductive trauma does not seem to present as a risk factor for problematic parenting, but further research is required to examine the effects of more complex cases of trauma and possible moderating factors in the context of reproductive trauma and parenting.