Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The purpose of the study was to examine childhood psychological maltreatment’s unique associations with adult psychological functioning, being the recipient of dating abuse, and maladaptive schemas. The present study controlled for witnessing parental physical and psychological maltreatment in order to examine these associations. It was hypothesized that childhood psychological maltreatment would be related to symptoms of adult depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and obsessive-compulsive problems. In addition, it was hypothesized that childhood psychological maltreatment would be related to being a recipient of psychological and physical abuse in dating relationships. There is an underlying assumption in Young and Gluhoski's (1997) schema- focused theory that childhood maltreatment leads to the development of maladaptive schemas; however, this underlying assumption had not been empirically validated. The present study was exploratory research in part because no studies exist examining the relationship between childhood psychological maltreatment and relational schemas.
A sample of 170 male and 234 female undergraduate students completed the Psychological Maltreatment Inventory, Child Abuse and Trauma Scale, Conflict Tactics Scales-2, Psychological Abuse Scale, Symptom Checklist-90-R, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and Young Schema Questionnaire. Hierarchical stepwise regression analyses and bivariate correlations were used to test the hypotheses. The present study found that for both males and females, childhood psychological maltreatment in the form of emotional neglect and spuming was associated with negative psychological outcomes in adulthood. Furthermore, the present study provides validation for Young and Gluhoski’s (1997) theory that negative parent-child interactions are related to early maladaptive schemas, which were found in this study to be associated with problems in psychological functioning. Finally, the present study found that for males, childhood psychological maltreatment in the form of emotional neglect and threat/intimidation in childhood was associated with being the recipient of dating psychological and physical abuse.
Jackson, Tonia L., "The Relationships Among Childhood Psychological Treatment, Adult Psychological Functioning, Dating Abuse, and Schema" (2004). Theses and Dissertations. 3798.