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J Aggress Maltreat Trauma. 2009 Jan 1;18(1):88-105.

Linking Childhood Maltreatment to Substance Use in College Students: The Mediating Role of Self-Worth Contingencies.

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Assistant Professor of Psychology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA.


This study investigated the link between childhood maltreatment and substance use focusing on examining contingencies of self-worth (CSW) as mediators among college students (N = 513). Structural equation modeling indicated that childhood sexual abuse among females was related to lower God's love CSW, which in turn was related to higher levels of cigarette, marijuana, and other illicit drug use, supporting the mediational role of God's love CSW. Correlational analyses demonstrated that, for both male and female students, external contingency of appearance was related to higher substance use, whereas internal contingencies of God's love and virtue were related to lower substance use. The findings highlight the protective role of internal CSW in substance use among females with childhood sexual abuse.

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