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Multiple forms of child maltreatment and abuse -specific characteristics: Relationships to psychological adjustment

John C Clemmons, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This investigation examined the co-occurrence of various forms of maltreatment and maltreatment severity, as well as the interaction between these two variables, as possible contributors to adult adjustment difficulties. Participants included 1396 college students (1013 females and 383 males), who were recruited from undergraduate psychology classes. Respondents completed self-report, Web-based questionnaires [Computer Assisted Maltreatment Interview (CAMI); Trauma Symptom Checklist-40 (TSC-40)]. Participants were categorized based on the number of childhood maltreatment types and the severity of maltreatment experienced. The possible contributions of co-occurring maltreatment and abuse severity were examined with respect to trauma symptomatology among participants. ^ Results indicate that 14% of the total sample experienced more than one type of child maltreatment and as expected, these participants generally reported experiencing greater levels of trauma symptomatology as the number of abuse types increased. Respondents who reported co-occurring maltreatment also generally experienced more severe individual types of abuse. Among participants reporting isolated abuse types, sexual abuse victims reported greater trauma symptomatology than did those who reported only physical abuse. Interestingly, participants reporting psychological abuse as their only maltreatment type reported higher levels of trauma symptoms than did respondents who experienced either physical abuse or neglect in isolation from all others. Results provided mixed support for the association between maltreatment severity and trauma symptomatology, as there was an interaction effect between severity and the number of abuse types with respect to adult adjustment. The implications of these findings are discussed with respect to research and clinical work with maltreatment populations. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Clemmons, John C, "Multiple forms of child maltreatment and abuse -specific characteristics: Relationships to psychological adjustment" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3142075.