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Child Abuse Negl. 2014 Aug;38(8):1341-50. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2013.11.006. Epub 2013 Dec 21.

Mediators of the childhood emotional abuse-hopelessness association in African American women.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, 80 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA.


Although there is an association between experiencing childhood emotional abuse and feeling hopeless as an adult, it is critical to understand the factors that may be protective in this relationship. The goal of this study was to determine if two protective factors, namely spiritual well-being, including both religious and existential well-being, and positive self-esteem, served to mediate the association between childhood emotional abuse and adult hopelessness. The sample for this investigation was low-income African American women suicide attempters who were abused by a partner in the prior year (N=121). A path analysis revealed that in this sample, the childhood emotional abuse-hopelessness link was mediated by existential well-being and positive self-esteem, as well as by the two-mediator path of emotional abuse on existential well-being on self-esteem on hopelessness. Results suggested that existential well-being may be a more salient protective factor for hopelessness than religious well-being among abused, suicidal African American women who experienced childhood emotional abuse. Findings highlight the value of culturally relevant strategies for enhancing existential well-being and self-esteem in this at-risk population to reduce their vulnerability to feelings of hopelessness.


Existential well-being; Religious well-being; Self-esteem; Spiritual well-being

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