Parental relations and family functioning in non-offending caregivers of abused children

Faridah Kristi Cabbigat, Maria Kangas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a paucity of research on family adjustment following child abuse disclosure including non-Western samples. The overarching aim of the current study was to investigate perceived family relations and family functioning in non-offending caregivers (NOCs) of abused children compared with parents of non-abused children in a Filipino sample. In particular, we investigated whether parental history of abuse and current depression and anxiety/stress would influence NOCs’ perceptions of parent–child relations, spousal/partner relationship satisfaction, social support and family functioning compared to caregivers of non-abused children. A self-report survey was completed by 92 NOCs and 94 parents of non-abused children from the Philippines. Results revealed that NOCs of abused children reported poorer parent–child relations, lower spousal/partner relationship satisfaction, greater family disengagement and chaotic family functioning than parents of non-abused children. Furthermore, depressed and anxious/stressed parents (irrespective of whether their child was abused or not) reported significant conflict and distant child–parent relationship, as well as poorer family functioning including poor communication and low family satisfaction. Interestingly however, parental abuse history did not have a significant interaction effect between the two parental groups on any of the outcomes. These findings underscore the need to assess both NOCs’ and clinically distressed caregivers in relation to their child and partner/spouse relations and family functioning in order to provide targeted interventions to improve family outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1287–1298
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • child abuse
  • parent–child relationship
  • spousal relationship
  • family functioning social support
  • abuse history


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