Parenting and Child Well-Being in Chinese Families with Multigenerational Trauma Exposure

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:09
Location: Hörsaal 6B P (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Wen-Jui HAN, New York Univesity, USA
Judith SIEGEL, New York University, USA
Prior research has demonstrated that childhood exposure to traumatic events often creates symptoms of psychological distress, and can weaken resilience to future stressors (Coates & Gaensbauer, 2009). In addition, post-trauma functioning in adults affects other family members, including children, who may struggle with symptoms of emotional distress during childhood, and be susceptible to the harmful effects of future stressors (Schwerdtfeger et al., 2013). Research based on non-Western samples, particularly children, is relatively scant. This paper fills this knowledge gap by using a large contemporary sample of first-graders and their parents in Shanghai, China. This study examines the well being of youth in China whose families (parents and grandparents) experienced severe stress and/or trauma-related events.  We used a sample of first-grade children and their parents in Shanghai, China (N = 2,282), to compare parenting experiences and the physical and emotional well being of children raised in trauma-exposed families with children in families who were trauma-free. Children whose parents and grandparents had experienced traumatic events were reported by their parents to have higher levels of externalizing (aggressive or delinquent behavior), somatic, and internalizing symptoms (withdrawn, inattentive and/or depressed behavior). The parents also reported marital conflict, higher levels of depression and health symptoms, and difficulty managing their children.