Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Sarah Lowe


Childhood trauma is a pervasive and prevalent issue, and one that impact the entirety of the familial unit. Furthermore, maternal childhood trauma, or childhood trauma that was experienced by individuals that are now mothers, has the potential of being passed down and having far-reaching impacts for their children. This is known as the intergenerational transmission of trauma. However, this has primarily been studied in infants and children. As such, this study aimed to elucidate the effects of maternal childhood trauma on young adolescent children using a diary study method with the children and assessing childhood trauma in the mothers. It was hypothesized that mothers who experienced higher levels of trauma in the first 18 years of their lives would have adolescent children who reported higher levels of depression, more day-to-day negative interactions with their mothers, and greater negative emotionality and less positive emotionality overall. Additionally, in experiencing more depressive symptoms and more day to day negative interactions, we hypothesized that these adolescents would also respond more negatively to those interactions compared to adolescents of mothers who had not experienced childhood trauma. A majority of the findings did not support these hypotheses. However, importantly, through a generalized linear mixed model, maternal childhood trauma was found to be associated with offspring feeling both more ashamed and more abandoned compared to their peers whose mothers had not experienced childhood trauma. While this study did not look at mother-child attachment, a large portion of the research addressing the effects of maternal childhood trauma on offspring, focuses on the importance of attachment and bonding, and how maternal childhood trauma negatively impacts this. The significance of those interpersonal factors being associated with maternal childhood trauma could indicate that mother-child attachment is a potentially important factor to assess in future research.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access