skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 221042 Find in a Library
Title: Child Maltreatment History and Subsequent Romantic Relationships: Exploring a Psychological Route to Dyadic Difficulties
Journal: Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma  Volume:15  Issue:1  Dated:2007  Pages:19-36
Author(s): David DiLillo; Terri Lewis; Andrea Di Loreto-Colgan
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Mental Health
Bethesda, MD 20852
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A sample of 174 college students involved in heterosexual dating relationships were analyzed in order to determine the role of psychological distress in mediating links between students' childhood maltreatment and their current functioning in dating interactions.
Abstract: Consistent with previous research, women with a history of childhood maltreatment (n=52) reported more mental health and relational difficulties than women without a history of childhood maltreatment. They reported more psychological distress than nonabused women and a greater fear of intimacy in past relationships. Current relationships were also lacking in feelings of closeness, affection, and the sharing of personal experiences. Women abused as children also tended to hold negative beliefs about sexual behaviors. Physical aggression was also more prevalent in couple relationships of women abused as children. In contrast to the women, no significant links were found between the men's experience of childhood maltreatment (n=22) and current psychological or relationship functioning. The men, however, generally reported fewer types of childhood abuse that were less severe than those reported by women. The study concludes that current psychological distress linked to childhood maltreatment impacts female survivors' abilities to achieve or maintain satisfactory couple functioning. The issue that remains unclear is the extent to which links among psychological and interpersonal difficulties is unique for maltreatment survivors. The findings suggest that a thorough assessment of distress related to childhood abuse may benefit clients involved in couples therapy. A total of 301 undergraduate students were recruited from psychology courses at a large midwestern university. Of these, 117 women and 57 men reported being currently in a committed heterosexual dating relationship, and these students composed the study sample. Individuals in the sample were assessed for child maltreatment history, current psychological functioning, past and current intimacy difficulties, sexual functioning, and conflict/physical aggression. 3 tables, 1 figure, and 35 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Adult survivors of child sexual abuse; Dating Violence; Long term health effects of child abuse; Socialization; Socially challenged
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.