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Childhood Trauma May Hinder Adult Romance

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

Childhood Trauma May Hinder Adult Romance

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Childhood Trauma May Hinder Adult Romance. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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