Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Allan Berman


Previous research has indicated that a history of abuse is related to later problems in personality functioning in adults. In addition, the literature has suggested that abused adolescents also experience more family dysfunction. In the present investigation, 541 subjects' records were drawn from consecutive admissions to the adolescent inpatient service of a private psychiatric hospital. Psychological records which contained copies of the scored Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) and the Family Assessment Device (FAD) were reviewed. Corresponding medical charts were obtained, from which abuse histories, the Hollingshead Four Factor Index of Social Status, and other demographic information were recorded. A 2 (sex) by 4 (abuse category: none, physical, sexual, both) repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance found that a history of both physical and sexual abuse was related to more personality pathology as measured by the MMPI. There was also some evidence that sexual abuse alone may be related to more difficulties as well. In addition, a repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance revealed that difficulties in personality functioning are also related to more perceived family dysfunction by the adolescent. Although there were no differences in personality functioning for incest and nonfamilial abuse victims, incest victims did report fewer problems in family functioning. Moreover, by conducting discriminant function analyses, this study also provided support that the MMPI is an effective tool for identifying abused individuals on the basis of their responses to a number of specific MMPI items. Furthermore, the consequences of using clinically defined cut-off points to define psychopathology and of focusing on an adolescent inpatient population are discussed. Finally, the present study built on the findings of previous investigations as both physical and sexual abuse victims, and males were included in the sample.



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