Multi-type Childhood Abuse, Strategies of Coping, and Psychological Adaptations in Young Adults

  • Sesar K
  • Šimić N
  • Barišić M
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Aim To retrospectively analyze the rate of multi-type abuse in childhood and the effects of childhood abuse and type of coping strategies on the psychological adaptation of young adults in a sample form the student population of the University of Mostar. Methods The study was conducted on a convenience sample of 233 students from the University of Mostar (196 female and 37 male), with a median age of 20 (interquartile range, 2). Exposure to abuse was determined using the Child Maltreatment Scales for Adults, which assesses emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, neglect, and witnessing family violence. Psychological adaptation was explored by the Trauma Symptom Checklist, which assesses anxiety/ depression, sexual problems, trauma symptoms, and somatic symptoms. Strategies of coping with stress were explored by the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations. Results Multi-type abuse in childhood was experienced by 172 participants (74%) and all types of abuse by 11 (5%) participants. Emotional and physical maltreatment were the most frequent types of abuse and mostly occurred together with other types of abuse. Significant association was found between all types of abuse (r = 0.436-0.778, P < 0.050). Exposure to sexual abuse in childhood and coping strategies were significant predictors of anxiety/depression (R2 = 0.3553), traumatic symptoms (R2 = 0.2299), somatic symptoms (R2 = 0.2173), and sexual problems (R2 = 0.1550, P < 0.001). Conclusion Exposure to multi-type abuse in childhood is a traumatic experience with long-term negative effects. Problem-oriented coping strategies ensure a better psychosocial adaptation than emotion-oriented strategies. (English) [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

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  • Kristina Sesar

  • Nataša Šimić

  • Marijana Barišić

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