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Childhood emotional abuse and attachment processes in the dyadic adjustment of dating couples.

by Shelley A Riggs, Angela M Cusimano, Karen M Benson
Journal of counseling psychology ()


In an effort to improve understanding of the mechanisms that link early maltreatment to later outcomes, this study investigated the mediation effects of adult attachment processes on the association between childhood emotional abuse and later romantic relationships among heterosexual couples. College students and their dating partners (N = 310; 155 couples) completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, Experiences in Close Relationship Scale, and Dyadic Adjustment Scale. Using the Actor–Partner Interdependence Model (Kenny, Kashy, & Cook, 2006), multilevel modeling results indicated that memories of childhood emotional abuse reported by both students and their partners were significantly associated with attachment strategies, as well as romantic relationship quality. Findings supported hypothesized mediation effects of attachment anxiety and avoidance.

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