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Childhood Trauma May Hinder Adult Romance

By Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on May 4, 2012

Childhood Trauma May Hinder Adult RomanceEmerging research suggest a rough childhood can detrimentally affect romantic relationships in later years.

In two separate studies, researchers examined the stability and satisfaction of intimate relationships among college students with a history of childhood emotional maltreatment (CEM).

The studies, published in the Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, suggest that emotional abuse as a child impacted relationship fulfillment due to self-criticism.

Researchers discovered that participants had an extremely strong tendency to self-criticize, and this interfered with their relationship satisfaction.

The studies also revealed that some participants had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the emotional abuse they endured. Researchers suggest this could be the result of internalizing behaviors caused by the maltreatment or by a child’s inability to properly comprehend their circumstances.

Childhood maltreatment includes sexual and physical abuse, emotional maltreatment and neglect. Childhood maltreatment is a significant contributor to the dramatic increase in referrals to university counseling centers, researchers believe.

Investigators believe childhood maltreatment also generates self-criticism causing a destructive effect on romantic relationships.

“Over time, this tendency might be consolidated, becoming a defining part of a person’s personality, and ultimately derailing relationships in general and romantic relationships in particular,” said Dana Lassri, whose doctoral dissertation, supervised by¬†psychologist Dr.¬†Golan Shahar, served as the basis for the study.

Lassri believes that even though these findings were gathered from college-age individuals, the behaviors could potentially worsen throughout adulthood.

Source: American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

 

APA Reference
Nauert, R. (2012). Childhood Trauma May Hinder Adult Romance. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 16, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/05/04/childhood-trauma-may-hinder-adult-romance/38230.html