Moderating effects of childhood maltreatment on associations between social information processing and adult aggression
ABSTRACT Associations between early life maltreatment, social information processing (SIP) and aggression in childhood and adolescence have been widely documented. Few studies have examined the importance of childhood maltreatment independent of SIP in the etiology of adult aggression. Furthermore, moderating effects of childhood maltreatment on the SIP-aggression links have not been explored.
Hierarchical, multi-level models were fitted to data from n=2752 twins aged 20-55 years from the PennTwins Cohort. Adult aggression was assessed with the Life History of Aggression questionnaire. Childhood maltreatment was measured using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Two aspects of SIP were examined: hostile attribution biases (HAB); negative emotional responses (NER).
Childhood maltreatment was positively correlated with adult aggression, independently of HAB and NER. In addition, childhood maltreatment moderated the relationships between both aspects of SIP and adult aggression. Specifically, the relationship between NER and aggression was stronger among individuals with higher levels of childhood maltreatment and NER was not associated with aggression for adults who experienced low levels of childhood maltreatment. Moderating effects of childhood maltreatment on the NER-aggression link were supported for total childhood maltreatment, emotional neglect and emotional abuse. In contrast, HAB was more strongly associated with adult aggression at lower levels of emotional abuse and physical neglect.
The current study provides insight into the mechanisms by which early life experiences influence adult aggression. Our findings suggest that childhood maltreatment may not only lead to increased levels of aggression in adulthood but may also modify the associations between SIP and adult aggression.
- SourceAvailable from: Maurizio Pompili
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- "" This result suggests that individuals who are abused or neglected as children have an increased risk of developing " male depression, " which includes impulsive and aggressive behaviors. Given that previous research has demonstrated a link between child maltreatment and adult impulsivity and aggression (Mann et al., 2005; Zouk et al., 2006; Chen et al., 2012), it should be expected that previous abuse and/ or neglect contributes to the development of " male depression. " One interpretation for this result can be explained within the context of the self-trauma model (Briere, 1992), which posits that a sustained sense of external security is essential for children to establish internal methods to cope with uncomfortable affect states and stressful experiences. "
ABSTRACT: In the current cross-sectional study, we aimed to investigate the presence and severity of "male" depressive symptoms and suicidal behaviors in psychiatric patients with and without a history of child abuse and neglect, as measured by the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), as well as to explore the associations among childhood maltreatment, "male depression" and suicide risk. The sample consisted of 163 consecutively admitted adult inpatients (80 men; 83 women). The patients were administered the CTQ, Gotland Male Depression Scale (GMDS), and Suicidal History Self-Rating Screening Scale (SHSS). Those with a moderate-severe childhood maltreatment history were more likely to be female (p<0.05) and reported more "male depression" (p<0.001) and suicidal behaviors (p<0.01) as compared to those not having or having a minimal history of child abuse and neglect. In the multivariate analysis, only the minimization/denial scale of the CTQ (odds ratio=0.31; p<0.001) and "male depression" (odds ratio=1.83; p<0.05) were independently associated with moderate/severe history of child maltreatment. The findings suggest that exposure to abuse and neglect as a child may increase the risk of subsequent symptoms of "male depression", which has been associated with higher suicidal risk.Psychiatry Research 08/2014; 220(1-2). DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2014.07.056 · 2.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Conduct disorder (CD) prior to age 15 is a precursor of schizophrenia in a minority of cases and is associated with violent behavior through adulthood, after taking account of substance misuse. The present study used structural magnetic imaging to examine gray matter (GM) volumes among 27 men with schizophrenia preceded by CD (SZ+CD), 23 men with schizophrenia but without CD (SZ-CD), 27 men with CD only (CD), and 25 healthy (H) men. The groups with schizophrenia were similar in terms of age of onset and duration of illness, levels of psychotic symptoms, and medication. The 2 groups with CD were similar as to number of CD symptoms, lifelong aggressive behavior, and number of criminal convictions. Men with SZ+CD, relative to those with SZ-CD, displayed (1) increased GM volumes in the hypothalamus, the left putamen, the right cuneus/precuneus, and the right inferior parietal cortex after controlling for age, alcohol, and drug misuse and (2) decreased GM volumes in the inferior frontal region. Men with SZ+CD (relative to the SZ-CD group) and CD (relative to the H group) displayed increased GM volumes of the hypothalamus and the inferior and superior parietal lobes, which were not associated with substance misuse. Aggressive behavior, both prior to age 15 and lifetime tendency, was positively correlated with the GM volume of the hypothalamus. Thus, among males, SZ+CD represents a distinct subtype of schizophrenia. Although differences in behavior emerge in childhood and remain stable through adulthood, further research is needed to determine whether the differences in GM volumes result from abnormal neural development distinct from that of other males developing schizophrenia.Schizophrenia Bulletin 09/2012; 39(5). DOI:10.1093/schbul/sbs115 · 8.61 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Childhood maltreatment, anger, and racial/ethnic background were examined in relation to physical health, psychological well-being, and blood pressure outcomes. This study used data from a diverse sample of African American, Latino, and Caucasian participants (N = 198). Results from a series of multiple regressions indicated anger and total childhood maltreatment were robust predictors of poorer health. Although correlational analyses found maltreatment from the mother and father were associated with poorer health outcomes, when considered as part of the regression models, only a relationship between maltreatment from the mother and physical health was found. Greater anger scores were linked with lower blood pressure, particularly systolic blood pressure. Generally, more psychological and physical symptom reporting was found with greater anger scores, and higher levels of total maltreatment also predicted physical symptoms. The pattern of interactions indicated anger was more detrimental for African American participant's (and marginally so for Latino participant's) physical health. Interestingly, interactions also indicated total childhood maltreatment was related to fewer symptoms for Latino participants. Although child maltreatment may be viewed as a moral and/or human rights issue, this study provides evidence that it can also be viewed as a public health issue. Our study demonstrated that known health risk factors such as anger and maltreatment may operate in a different pattern dependent on ethnic/cultural background. The findings suggest health and health disparities research would benefit from greater exploration of the differential impact of certain moderating variables based on racial/ethnic background.Child abuse & neglect 03/2014; 38(3). DOI:10.1016/j.chiabu.2014.01.009 · 2.34 Impact Factor