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: The diverse literature on shame has led to disparate and often contradictory conclusions regarding the emotion's nature and consequences. The article proposes a motivational theory of shame that accounts for these discrepant findings. The first part of the article uses the concept of active avoidance to outline a dynamic motivational perspective in which shame is based initially in behavioral inhibition that then incorporates subsequent behavioral activation. The motivational shift is guided by shame's relational phenomenology and the normative beliefs associated with shame. In the second part, the motivational perspective is used to account for variations in shame's consequences. Externalizing and restorative tendencies of shame are culturally variable and due to differences in behavioral activation associated with the emotion. However, withdrawal tendencies occur across cultural contexts because of shame's basis in inhibition. Issues in conducting cross-cultural studies on emotion and suggestions for future research are discussed.Personality and Social Psychology Review 07/2014; 18(4). DOI:10.1177/1088868314540810 · 7.55 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Studies suggest that sexual self-schemas are an important cognitive mechanism in the sexual development of women with a history of childhood abuse. This literature is only beginning to explore how multiple forms of abuse (i.e., physical, emotional, and sexual), rather than sexual abuse alone, can influence the development of adult sexuality. Moreover, the extant literature has not carefully considered important factors other than the severity of the abuse that may relate to sexual self-schemas, including family environment and quality of romantic relationships. Findings from this cross-sectional study conducted on 417 heterosexual women (ages 18-25 years) suggest that family dynamics and different types of childhood abuse contribute both directly and indirectly to adult sexual function and satisfaction and that part of those effects were mediated by other factors such as sexual self-schemas and romantic relationship quality. These results, including an exploration of the direct and indirect effects, were discussed in terms of the pervasive effects of abuse on people's lives and the potential treatment targets that can be addressed when trying to reduce sexual problems in women with a history of abuse.Archives of Sexual Behavior 10/2014; DOI:10.1007/s10508-014-0364-5 · 3.53 Impact Factor
Edited by Aboriginal Healing Foundation, 07/2014; Aboriginal Healing Foundation., ISBN: ISBN 978-1-77215-002-5