Impact of maternal betrayal trauma on parent and child well-being: attachment style and emotion regulation as moderators

Kara J. Choi*, Maria Kangas

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: While high betrayal (HB) traumas (i.e., traumas perpetrated by close others) are associated with reduced maternal and child well-being compared to low betrayal (LB) traumas (i.e., traumas that are noninterpersonal or perpetrated by nonclose others), moderators of these relationships have not yet been examined. The aim of the present study was to examine the associations between maternal lifetime betrayal trauma and parent and child well-being while also examining attachment style and emotion regulation as potential moderators. Method: Australian mothers (N = 174) of school-age children (5-12 years) completed online self-report measures assessing betrayal trauma, well-being, attachment style, and emotion regulation strategies. Results: HB traumas were significantly associated with greater maternal distress and trauma symptoms, reduced child well-being, greater attachment anxiety, and greater difficulties with emotion regulation but were not significantly different with regard to parenting stress, social support satisfaction, or attachment avoidance when compared with LB traumas. Emotion regulation difficulties moderated the relationship between betrayal trauma history and maternal distress. Conclusions: These results indicate that mothers with HB trauma histories who also have difficulties with emotion regulation may experience greater levels of distress compared to mothers with HB trauma histories who use more adaptive emotion regulation strategies. Accordingly, it may be especially important for victims of HB traumas to address trauma-related misappraisals regarding the self and others while strengthening the use of adaptive emotion regulation strategies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)121–130
    Number of pages10
    JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
    Issue number2
    Early online date8 Jul 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


    • betrayal trauma
    • well-being
    • parenting stress
    • attachment style
    • emotion regulation


    Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of maternal betrayal trauma on parent and child well-being: attachment style and emotion regulation as moderators'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this