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Child Abuse Negl. 2016 Oct;60:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2016.08.005. Epub 2016 Sep 14.

A daily process examination of the relationship between childhood trauma and stress-reactivity.

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Department of Psychology, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, NJ, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT, USA.
Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT, 06030-6325, USA. Electronic address:


Childhood trauma (CT) has been associated with various forms of emotion dysregulation (ED), including stress-reactivity, which is believed to be one of the mechanisms underlying the link between CT and psychological disorders. The purpose of the present study was to further this line of research by using an intensive longitudinal research design to examine among college students (N=1634, 53.7% women) whether reports of interpersonal CT, specifically emotional abuse and neglect, uniquely moderate the within-person association between repeated assessments of daily stress and negative affect (NA)(i.e., stress-reactivity). The study also examined whether the link between CT and stress-reactivity is stronger for discrete forms of NA and whether the effects of emotional abuse and neglect CT are unique from other trauma types and distinct from recent life stress and neuroticism. Results indicated that individuals with more severe histories of emotional abuse CT showed stronger stress-reactivity for anxiety, but not for other forms of affect when control variables were introduced. Neglect also moderated this association but in the opposite direction, such that those with more extensive histories of neglect exhibited lower anxiety in response to daily stress. Results highlight the unique and complex associations between various forms of interpersonal CT and stress-reactivity.


Childhood trauma; Daily process; Emotional abuse; Negative affect; Neglect; Stress-reactivity

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