Date Approved

7-7-2008

Embargo Period

3-23-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in Mental Health Counseling and Applied Psychology

Department

Psychology

College

College of Science & Mathematics

First Advisor

Kerwin, Mary Louise

Subject(s)

Child sexual abuse; Intimacy (Psychology)

Disciplines

Psychology

Abstract

The purposes of this exploratory study were (a) to provide support for the relationship between childhood and/or adolescent maltreatment, especially sexual abuse, and adult intimate attachment, (b) determine mediating factors of the relationship between childhood and/or adolescent maltreatment and adult attachment, and (c) explore relationships among these potential mediating variables. Rowan University introductory psychology students between the ages of 18-24 (21 males and 24 females) completed written measures assessing childhood and/or adolescent maltreatment, current perceived family relationship, internal attribution for sexual abuse, positive childhood experiences, depression, current perceived interpersonal support, forgiveness, and adult intimate attachment. Participants endorsed multiple maltreatment experiences in the low to moderate severity range. Correlations provided support for a high co-occurrence of multiple abuse experiences. Participants who experienced psychological abuse, neglect, and physical abuse also perceived less support and possessed high levels of fearful attachment. Positive appraisal of family relationship was related to higher levels of support and secure attachment. Regressions revealed adult attachment predicted social support and vice versa. Levels of family conflict predicted fearful attachment. Participants who endorsed high levels of fearful attachment also endorsed similar levels of both dismissive and preoccupied attachment patterns. Implications for these findings in clinical practice are discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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