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Association Between Childhood Maltreatment and Normal Adult Personality Traits: Exploration of an Understudied Field


Hengartner, M P; Cohen, L J; Rodgers, S; Muller, M; Rossler, W; Ajdacic-Gross, V (2015). Association Between Childhood Maltreatment and Normal Adult Personality Traits: Exploration of an Understudied Field. Journal of Personality Disorders, 29(1):1-14.

Abstract

We assessed normal personality traits and childhood trauma in approximately 1170 subjects from a general population-based community sample. In bivariate analyses emotional abuse was most pervasively related to personality, showing significant detrimental associations with neuroticism, extraversion, openness, conscientiousness, and agreeableness. Neuroticism was significantly related to emotional abuse and neglect, physical abuse and neglect, and sexual abuse. Emotional abuse was related to neuroticism in men more profoundly than in women (beta = 0.095). Adjusting for the covariance between childhood maltreatment variables, neuroticism was mainly related to emotional abuse (beta = 0.193), extraversion to emotional neglect (beta = -0.259), openness to emotional abuse (beta = 0.175), conscientiousness to emotional abuse (beta = -0.110), and agreeableness to emotional neglect (beta = -0.153). The proportion of variance explained was highest in neuroticism (5.6%) and lowest in openness (1.9%) and conscientiousness (1.8%). These findings help to understand the complex association between childhood maltreatment and both normal and pathological personality.

We assessed normal personality traits and childhood trauma in approximately 1170 subjects from a general population-based community sample. In bivariate analyses emotional abuse was most pervasively related to personality, showing significant detrimental associations with neuroticism, extraversion, openness, conscientiousness, and agreeableness. Neuroticism was significantly related to emotional abuse and neglect, physical abuse and neglect, and sexual abuse. Emotional abuse was related to neuroticism in men more profoundly than in women (beta = 0.095). Adjusting for the covariance between childhood maltreatment variables, neuroticism was mainly related to emotional abuse (beta = 0.193), extraversion to emotional neglect (beta = -0.259), openness to emotional abuse (beta = 0.175), conscientiousness to emotional abuse (beta = -0.110), and agreeableness to emotional neglect (beta = -0.153). The proportion of variance explained was highest in neuroticism (5.6%) and lowest in openness (1.9%) and conscientiousness (1.8%). These findings help to understand the complex association between childhood maltreatment and both normal and pathological personality.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Date:2015
Deposited On:04 Dec 2014 07:31
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:34
Publisher:Guilford Press
ISSN:0885-579X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1521/pedi_2014_28_143
PubMed ID:24932873
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-101501

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