Objective and Background: The current study examines the types of childhood experiences with mothers (i.e., maternal abuse, affection, discipline) among caregivers of aging mothers and investigates whether membership in specific latent classes, particularly maternal maltreatment, is associated with psychological functioning among caregivers. Method: Using data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS), we used the Bolck, Croon, and Hagenaars approach of latent class analysis to predict distal outcomes. Results: We identified four latent classes (prevalence rate noted): “Affectionate and authoritative” (65%), “affectionate and permissive” (11%), “emotionally abusive and neglectful” (8%), and “emotionally/physically abusive and authoritative” (16%). Caregivers in the “emotionally/physically abusive and authoritative” class endorsed high probabilities of both maternal affection and abuse and were most negatively affected across the three psychological functioning outcomes (i.e., self-rated mental health, psychological distress, and psychological well-being). Conclusion: In support of the life course perspective, our findings emphasized the importance of examining adult children caregivers' early life experiences with aging mothers and how those experiences can impact the psychological effects of caregiving. Implications: This study suggests specific practice implications; for example, assessment tools for evaluating caregiver burden should consider life course factors, such as caregivers' childhood experiences with aging parents.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)