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J Pers Disord. 2010 Jun;24(3):285-95. doi: 10.1521/pedi.2010.24.3.285.

Disentangling the relationship between different types of childhood maltreatment and personality disorders.

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Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Faculty of Psychology & Neuroscience, Maastricht University, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.


This study investigated the relationship between five forms of childhood maltreatment (sexual, physical and emotional abuse, emotional and physical neglect) and 10 personality disorders (PDs). PDs were assessed by means of SCID II, and childhood maltreatment was retrospectively measured with the Interview for Traumatic Events in Childhood. Both PDs and childhood maltreatment were expressed continuously, and relations were assessed by means of structural equation modelling in a sample of 409 participants. Results indicated that sexual abuse was associated with symptoms of paranoid, schizoid, borderline, and avoidant PD; physical abuse with antisocial PD; emotional abuse with paranoid, schizotypal, borderline, and cluster C PD; and emotional neglect with histrionic and borderline PD. No independent relationships between physical neglect and PDs were found. The findings provide clear, albeit retrospective, evidence that different forms of childhood maltreatment have differential effects on PD pathology.

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