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J Abnorm Psychol. 1992 Aug;101(3):561-6.

Self-criticism in adulthood and recalled childhood experience.

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  • 1Medical Research Council, Institute of Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom.


We investigated in a sample of 75 medical students the hypothesis that higher levels of self-criticism, a major vulnerability factor for depression, are related to retrospective reports of less satisfactory parenting, even when the potentially confounding factors of mood state and social desirability response set are controlled. At each of 2 measurement times, there were significant cross-sectional correlations between parental ratings and both depression and self-criticism, but the associations with self-criticism were no longer significant when depression was controlled. However, even after controlling for the effects of mood state and social desirability, persons with high levels of self-criticism at both measurement points (high trait self-criticism subjects) reported significantly worse relationships with their mothers than did the remaining subjects. They were also more likely to report below average relationships with both parents jointly.

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