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The impact of parenting on child mental health among children of prostituting mothers

Aaron Murnan, Qiong Wu and Natasha Slesnick

Children and Youth Services Review, 2018, vol. 89, issue C, 212-217

Abstract: While a growing body of literature documents adverse outcomes among prostituting women, very little research has focused on their parenting practices or the unique risk factors their children experience. This is of particular interest as majority of prostituting women have children, that are vulnerable to experiencing adverse outcomes. Among the general population, the positive impact of effective parenting styles on children's mental health has been well-documented; however, there is a paucity of information on the relationship between parenting practices and mental health outcomes for children of prostituting mothers. The current study examined the parenting practices of prostituting mothers and their effects on child mental health outcomes utilizing data from a larger randomized clinical trial. Mothers and their children were recruited through a local substance use treatment facility. Results indicated that children of prostituting mothers reported experiencing less parental monitoring and worse mental health functioning compared to other children. The joint influences of parental monitoring and psychological autonomy on children's mental health outcomes were different among these children, compared to those of non-prostituting mothers. Specifically, as support for children's psychological autonomy increased, so did children's mental health functioning, but only for those that experienced low to moderate levels of parental monitoring. This combination of low monitoring and increased psychological autonomy likely fostered independence and may have allowed these children to distance themselves from potential hazards and avoid experiences of abuse. To our knowledge, this is the first study to quantitatively examine parenting practices and child mental health outcomes among this population.

Keywords: Parenting; Prostituting mothers; Parental monitoring; Psychological autonomy; Child mental health (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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