Teenage mothers' anger over twelve years: partner conflict, partner transitions and children's anger

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Abstract

Background

This study examined the effects of maternal anger, partner transitions and partner conflict on later oppositional and angry behavior of the children of teenage mothers.

Methods

One hundred and twenty-one teenage women were interviewed prior to the birth of the baby and at 3 points subsequently, when children were newborn, 7 years old and 12 years old. Child and teacher reports of children's oppositional behavior were obtained.

Results

Women who showed higher levels of anger at Time 1 experienced more conflict with partners and more partner transitions over the next 12 years than women with lower levels of anger. Partner conflict was a stronger predictor of children's oppositional and angry behavior than partner transitions. Maternal anger at Time 1 was associated with maternal anger at Time 4 but neither predicted children's oppositional behavior at Time 4.

Conclusion

There was support for the theoretical model that suggested that the personality characteristics of teenaged mothers confer some of their risk to children through children's exposure to the mothers' problematic partner relationships.

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