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, 20 (7), 549-59

Recall of Childhood Neglect and Physical Abuse as Differential Predictors of Current Psychological Functioning

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Recall of Childhood Neglect and Physical Abuse as Differential Predictors of Current Psychological Functioning

L Gauthier et al. Child Abuse Negl.

Abstract

The differential effects of neglect and physical abuse on psychological functioning are not well understood. The present study examined the relationship between reported neglect and physical abuse and symptomatology and attachment styles in a sample of 236 male and 276 female undergraduates. In contrast to physical abuse, which must involve some parental involvement in a child's life, neglect is characterized by a lack of parent-child interaction. As such, it was hypothesized that childhood neglect would be more predictive of symptomatology and dysfunctional attachment styles than would physical abuse. Results confirmed the expected relationship between neglect and more severe psychological problems and anxious attachment styles. Implications of these results point to the need to focus both empirically and theoretically on neglect and physical abuse as potentially separate moderators of psychosocial functioning.

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