Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Patricia Morokoff

Abstract

Childhood maltreatment has been and continues to be a disconcerting public health concern worldwide. Over three decades of research indicates a gamut of negative long-term physical and mental health correlates of childhood maltreatment. However, there is limited knowledge on potential mediating factors in the relationship between childhood maltreatment and later adult functioning. This study examined the potential impact of childhood maltreatment on later adult functioning, specifically interpersonal functioning and protective sexual behaviors. The study also investigated the potential mediating roles of psychological distress and personal resiliency within this relationship. A college-based sample of 415 heterosexually active men and women, aged 18-25 years, completed survey measures on the model variables. Using structural equation analyses, personal resiliency partially mediated the relationship between childhood maltreatment and interpersonal functioning across the entire sample. Separate models for women indicated that personal resiliency completely mediated the relationship between childhood maltreatment and interpersonal functioning, while personal resiliency did not appear to be a mediator for men. Psychological distress was not a mediator across the entire sample or for men and women separately. Childhood maltreatment, personal resiliency, psychological distress did not predict protective sexual behaviors across the entire sample and for men and women separately.

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