Title

The association of childhood trauma with perceptions of self and the partner in adult romantic relationships

Keywords

childhood trauma, couples, relationships, abuse

Abstract

In this study, the association of childhood trauma with perceptions of self and the partner was explored. Using a large sample of more than 5,400 couples who completed the RELATE inventory, couples in which neither partner experienced childhood physical abuse were compared on personality and communication scales with couples where only the female experienced abuse, only the male experienced abuse, and both partners experienced abuse. The primary question of interest was to evaluate whether childhood trauma was associated with selection effects of romantic partners, perceptual effects of partners, or reciprocal negativity with partners. The evidence from the analysis of variance and path analysis indicates that trauma is more likely to be associated with perceptual effects than selection effects. Individuals who were traumatized rated both themselves and their partners as more neurotic and conflictual, even when controlling for overall levels of relationship satisfaction. However, the partners of traumatized persons do not consider themselves more neurotic or conflictual than partners in relationships where neither partner was abused.

Original Publication Citation

Busby, D. M., Walker, E. C., & Holman, T. B. (2011). The association of childhood trauma with perceptions of self and the partner in adult romantic relationships. Personal Relationships, 18, 547-561.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2010-11-24

Publisher

Personal Relationships

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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