Childhood emotional maltreatment causes troubled romantic relationships

People who experience Childhood Emotional Maltreatment (CEM) are more likely to have troubled romantic relationships in adult years, according to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers.

In two separate studies, doctoral candidate Dana Lassri and Prof. Golan Shahar of BGU's Department of Psychology examined the stability and satisfaction of among college students with a history of 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. Participants had an extremely strong tendency to bash themselves, and this interfered with their relationship satisfaction.

The studies also revealed that some participants had symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.) due to the emotional abuse they endured. 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 (CM) includes sexual and physical abuse, emotional maltreatment and neglect, and is a significant contributor to the dramatic increase in referrals to university counseling centers. CM also foments self-criticism causing a deleterious effect on .

"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," explains Ms. Lassri, whose doctoral dissertation, supervised by Prof. Shahar, served as the basis for the study. Lassri and Shahar are with the Sealth and Health Research Lab (SEALTH) located at the Department of Psychology of BGU.

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

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

How negative stereotyping affects older people

13 hours ago

The most comprehensive analysis to date of research on the effect of negative stereotypes on older people's abilities has concluded that these stereotypes create a significant problem for that demographic.

She's not interested in sex but he thinks she is

13 hours ago

Imagine the following scenario: a woman and a man are having a conversation. She is interested in the conversation, and is friendly, smiling and warm. He interprets her behavior as sexual interest.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.