Childhood abuse and current interpersonal conflict: the role of shame. Child Abuse & Neglect, 33, 362-371

Department of Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, USA.
Child abuse & neglect (Impact Factor: 2.34). 06/2009; 33(6):362-71. DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2008.10.003
Source: PubMed


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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    • "Y a su vez, sin independencia económica, las mujeres no tienen ningún poder para escapar de una relación abusiva (Schuler, Hashemi, Riley y Akhter, 1996). En este nivel, tres meta-análisis encuentran una relación entre la violencia de género y presenciar o experimentar violencia familiar en la infancia (Riggs et al., 2000; Stith et al., 2000; Sugarman y Hotaling, 1997) aunque hay que destacar que alrededor de dos tercios de los maltratados o expuestos a la violencia no se transforman en agresores (Kim et al., 2009). Entre los factores de riesgo del microsistema hay una asociación débil entre el número de hijos, las cargas familiares (cuidar abuelos, vivir con otros familiares) y violencia (r (4774) = .06, "

    Full-text · Dataset · Dec 2015
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    • "by guest on July 17, 2015 Downloaded from Shame has been posited as another central emotion in vulnerable nar­ cissism (Pincus et al. 2009) and has been empirically linked to experi­ ences of CM (Kim, Talbot, and Cicchetti 2009). Specifically, Lewis (1987) conceptualizes shame as a " self­conscious " emotion that arises when a person ascribes a perceived wrongdoing to a core problem with the self, leading to experiences of helplessness and a desire to " hide " the self from perceived scrutiny. "

    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association
    • "However, the present finding may also be illustrative of gender and methodological biases in this area. The majority of studies on child maltreatment and selfharm have been conducted on exclusively female samples (e.g., Kim et al., 2009), whereas the present study sample was predominantly male, giving some support to Gratz and Chapman's (2007) proposal that different abuse experiences are salient to different genders in terms of psychological impact. This may also explain the surprisingly limited role of childhood sexual abuse in predicting both self-harm and aggression in this study. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the role of prolonged, repeated traumatic experiences such as childhood and sectarian trauma in the development of posttraumatic aggression and self-harm. Forty-four adult participants attending therapy for complex trauma in Northern Ireland were obtained via convenience sampling. When social desirability was controlled, childhood emotional and physical neglect were significant correlates of posttraumatic hostility and history of self-harm. These relationships were mediated by alterations in self-perception (e.g., shame, guilt). Severity of sectarian-related experiences was not related to self-destructive behaviors. Moreover, none of the trauma factors were related to overt aggressive behavior. The findings have implications for understanding risk factors for posttraumatic aggression and self-harm, as well as their treatment.
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