How do different types of childhood maltreatment relate to adult personality pathology?

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2013 Mar;201(3):234-43. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3182848ac4.


There are insufficient data investigating the relative associations between different kinds of childhood maltreatment and the severity of adult personality pathology. Personality pathology and childhood maltreatment (sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and neglect) were assessed in 156 nonpsychotic psychiatric patients. Measures included the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire for DSM-IV (PDQ-4+), the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), the Multidimensional Neglectful Behavior Scale (MNBS), and the Conflict Tactics Scales Parent-Child version (CTSPC-CA). Bivariate logistic regression analyses revealed each maltreatment type to significantly correlate with adult personality pathology. However, in multivariate logistic analyses controlling for education, neglect and emotional abuse were the only significant predictors of adult personality pathology (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] for MNBS neglect, 3.60; AOR for CTQ emotional abuse, 3.81). Analysis of the CTSPC-CA yielded a strong effect on maternal (AOR, 3.71) but not paternal neglect. These data suggest that clinicians should routinely evaluate for histories of neglect and emotional abuse, particularly in patients with marked personality pathology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / classification
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Fathers / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Personality Disorders / etiology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales