Recent research demonstrates that traumatic events during childhood can impact psychological development and lead to adult onset psychiatric disorders, yet few have concentrated on the influence of particular kinds of childhood abuse. The observations made in a research published in Annals of General Psychiatry reveal that childhood physical, emotional, and sexual abuse dictate various adult interpersonal issues. Led by Hyu Jung Huh, a doctor at the College of Medicine at Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, the research “provides preliminary evidence that childhood trauma has an adverse impact on interpersonal problems in adulthood."
Evaluating Interpersonal Problems in Depressed and Anxious Adults
Hyu researched 174 individuals diagnosed with depression and 151 diagnosed with anxiety disorders. These patients were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). After the recruitment procedure, participants completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). The CTQ is a 28-item self-report inventory that identifies the kinds of traumas experienced: emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, as well as emotional and physical neglect.
After divulging the details of past trauma, Hyu then evaluated adulthood interpersonal issues using the Korean Inventory of Interpersonal Problems Circumplex Scale (KIIP-SC). Interpersonal issues refer to how you can interact and communicate with others during conflict. The eight dimensions of interpersonal problems include:
- Domineering or control issues
- Vindictive behavior and self-centeredness
- Distancing one's self
- Socially inhibited
- Overly accommodating
- Intrusive or needy
The KIIP-SC is a 40-item self-report used to indicate which of the eight interpersonal behaviors one associates most with.
Different Types of Trauma Cause Different Interpersonal Problems
The following list of associations was noticed in the patients:
- Patients with a history of physical abuse were more likely to be domineering, controlling, intrusive, and needy.
- Patients who suffered emotional neglect were more likely to be domineering, controlling, nonassertive, overly accommodating, self-sacrificing, intrusive, and needy.
- Patients who suffered sexual abuse were more likely to be domineering, controlling, overly accommodating, self-sacrificing, intrusive, and needy.
Different types of childhood abuse and neglect appeared to influence specific symptom dimensions and interpersonal relationship in adulthood
concluded Hyu. In general, Hyu found that patients with a history of physical or sexual abuse tended to grow up to be the more dominant person in their relationships. In terms of mental health, those with both emotional and physical trauma demonstrated strong symptoms of depression, state anxiety, trait anxiety, and anxiety sensitivity.