Source Publication (e.g., journal title)

Social Work Research

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2007


This study identified groups of mothers with varying patterns of adaptive functioning and bonds with their own parents. These patterns were related to mothers' parenting of their own children to understand how some mothers avoid repeating the cycle of poor parenting. Data from 210 new mothers were analyzed before hospital discharge about bonding with their caregivers during childhood and six to 12 months later about adaptive functioning, life circumstances, and parenting. Latent cluster analysis identified four distinct groups of mothers with regard to parental bonds and adaptive functioning: positive-adaptive mothers (good bonding and good adaptive functioning), positive-maladaptive mothers (good bonding and poor adaptive functioning), resilient mothers (poor bonding and good adaptive functioning), and vulnerable mothers (poor bonding and poor adaptive functioning). Despite poor parental bonds, resilient mothers were coping as well as the positive-adaptive mothers and were significantly less likely to experience parenting stress related to the parenting role, unsatisfying interactions with their infants, and attributions of their children as difficult to care for. Some mothers were able to overcome poor bonds with their own caregivers to develop good adaptive functioning in adulthood and provide good parenting to their own children.

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