Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Alan R. King


The current study explored the relationships between childhood maltreatment indicators and mental health symptomatology in adulthood. Based on previous research, it was hypothesized that the indirect effects of child abuse on symptom expression as mediated by personality traits would be substantial and possibly larger than the direct effects alone. Additional abuse by trait interactions were examined. Results supported these hypotheses, specifically, the PID-5 trait factors were successful in accounting for a disproportionate amount of the variance in the criterion measures. These traits were substantially stronger than childhood physical abuse and domestic violence exposure. Childhood sexual abuse also outperformed childhood physical abuse and domestic violence exposure, but to a lesser extent than the personality traits. These results add to the literature reviewing the mechanisms through which psychopathology emerges, in an attempt to better predict and intervene following the occurrence of childhood abuse.