Childhood abuse and current interpersonal conflict: the role of shame.
ABSTRACT To examine whether shame-proneness mediates the relationship between women's histories of childhood sexual abuse and their current partner and family conflict and child maltreatment. Previous research has found that women with childhood sexual abuse histories experience heightened shame and interpersonal conflict. However, research examining the relationship of shame to interpersonal conflict is lacking.
Participants were 129 mothers of children enrolled in a summer camp program for at-risk children from financially disadvantaged families. Data were collected on women's childhood abuse histories, shame in daily life, and current interpersonal conflict involving family conflict, intimate partner conflict (verbal and physical aggression), and child maltreatment.
Consistent with our hypothesis, the results of hierarchical regressions and logistic regression indicated that shame significantly mediated the association between childhood sexual abuse and interpersonal conflict. Women with sexual abuse histories reported more shame in their daily lives, which in turn was associated with higher levels of conflicts with intimate partners (self-verbal aggression and partner-physical aggression) and in the family. Shame did not mediate the relationship between mothers' histories of sexual abuse and child maltreatment.
The role of shame in the intimate partner and family conflicts of women with sexual abuse histories has not been examined. The current findings indicate that childhood sexual abuse was related to interpersonal conflicts indirectly through the emotion of shame.
These findings highlight the importance of investigating the role of shame in the interpersonal conflicts of women with histories of childhood sexual abuse. Healthcare professionals in medical and mental health settings frequently treat women with abuse histories who are involved in family and partner conflicts. Assessing and addressing the links of abused women's shame to interpersonal conflicts could be important in clinical interventions.
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: This study examined dissociation, shame, guilt and intimate relationship difficulties in those with chronic and complex PTSD. Little is known about how these symptom clusters interplay within the complex PTSD constellation. Dissociation was examined as a principle organizing construct within complex PTSD. In addition, the impact of shame, guilt and dissociation on relationship difficulties was explored. METHODS: Sixty five treatment-receiving adults attending a Northern Irish service for conflict-related trauma were assessed on measures of dissociation, state and trait shame, behavioral responses to shame, state and trait guilt, complex PTSD symptom severity and relationship difficulties. RESULTS: Ninety five percent (n=62) of participants scored above cut-off for complex PTSD. Those with clinical levels of dissociation (n=27) were significantly higher on complex PTSD symptom severity, state and trait shame, state guilt, withdrawal in response to shame and relationship preoccupation than subclinical dissociators (n=38). Dissociation and state and trait shame predicted complex PTSD. Fear of relationships was predicted by dissociation, complex PTSD and avoidance in response to shame, while complex PTSD predicted relationship anxiety and relationship depression. LIMITATIONS: The study was limited to a relatively homogeneous sample of individuals with chronic and complex PTSD drawn from a single service. CONCLUSIONS: Complex PTSD has significant consequences for intimate relationships, and dissociation makes an independent contribution to these difficulties. Dissociation also has an organizing effect on complex PTSD symptoms.Journal of affective disorders 11/2012; · 3.76 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Offenders are at elevated risk for interpersonal violence victimization (IVV), which is a risk factor for suicide-related outcomes in some populations, suggesting the importance of examining risk associated with IVV in offenders. The present study examined the association between IVV and suicidal ideation (SI) among criminal offenders in a pretrial jail diversion program in the United States. 266 offenders were screened for ten common Axis I psychiatric disorders along with current SI and past-year IVV. Past-year IVV was significantly associated with current SI, and the association remained significant after adjusting for symptoms of ten Axis I psychiatric disorders, respectively and simultaneously. Gender did not moderate the IVV-SI association. The findings support a connection between IVV and SI in criminal offenders.Crisis The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention 06/2011; 32(5):240-5. · 1.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We tested the moderating effect of psychological mindedness (PM) on the relationship between past experience of child abuse and both intimate partner violence (IPV) and intimate relationship quality. Female Israeli graduate students (N = 425; mean age 35.9 years), either married or in cohabitation, completed an electronic questionnaire. The data were analyzed by SEM multiple group analysis of women with high vs. low PM. Child abuse was associated with IPV among women with a low level of PM but not among women with a high level of PM. Contrary to expectation, childhood abuse was associated with lower marital quality among women with a high level of PM but not for women with a low level of PM. Results support the notion that psychologically minded people are "wiser but sadder" (Farber, , p. 216). The findings are discussed in relation to revictimization theories, with clinical implications noted.Journal of Clinical Psychology 01/2014; · 2.12 Impact Factor