Altering Risk Following Child Maltreatment: Family and Friend Support as Protective Factors
The current study investigated concurrent and longitudinal mediated and mediated moderation pathways among maltreatment, self-perception (i.e., loneliness and self-esteem), social support, and internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. For both genders, early childhood maltreatment (i.e., ages 0-6) was related directly to internalizing and externalizing behavior problems at age 6, and later maltreatment (i.e., ages 6-8) was directly related to internalizing and externalizing behavior problems at age 8. Results of concurrent mediation and mediated moderation indicated that early maltreatment was significantly related to internalizing and externalizing behavior problems at age 6 indirectly both through age 6 loneliness and self-esteem for boys and through age 6 loneliness for girls. Significant moderation of the pathway from early maltreatment to self-esteem, and for boys, significant mediated moderation to emotional and behavioral problems were found, such that the mediated effect through self-esteem varied across levels of social support, though in an unexpected direction. No significant longitudinal mediation or mediated moderation was found, however, between the age 6 mediators and moderator and internalizing or externalizing problems at age 8. The roles of the hypothesized mediating and moderating mechanisms are discussed, with implications for designing intervention and prevention programs.