Parents' adverse childhood experiences and parent–child emotional availability in an American Indian community: Relations with young children's social–emotional development
Development and Psychopathology
This study examined relations among parent adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), parent mental distress, child social–emotional functioning, and parent emotional availability (EA) among parents and children served by an Early Head Start program in an American Indian community. The majority of parents and children in the study were American Indian/Alaska Native. American Indian/Alaska Native communities experience relatively high rates of trauma, socioeconomic disparities, and mental health
... enges. In this context, young children may be especially vulnerable to early life stress. Further, a strong body of literature demonstrates the long-term effects of ACEs on individuals' mental health, as well as their child's social–emotional functioning. In this study we examined a model to test the relation of parent ACEs to children's social–emotional functioning, with an indirect effect via a latent "mental distress" variable consisting of parent depression, anxiety, and parenting-related distress. Results supported this model, suggesting that parent ACEs related to children's social–emotional problems by way of parent mental distress. However, when a categorical measure of parent EA was added as a moderator, the model only remained significant in the low EA parent group. These results provided evidence for a "buffering" effect of high parent EA on the relation between parent ACEs, parent mental distress, and children's social–emotional problems.