Dr. Marilyn Welsh
Type of Resources
Childhood maltreatment (CM) is an issue in society that affects mental health outcomes and adult interpersonal relationships. The purpose of this thesis was to evaluate the relationship between CM, mental health symptoms, and interpersonal conflict in emerging adult relationships in a nonclinical population of college students that varied in CM history. A sample of 104 UNC students self-reported mental health and trauma symptoms, interpersonal conflict, and CM history as a part of a larger longitudinal study examining CM and college adaptation. The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R), Trauma Symptom Checklist-40 (TSC-40), and Revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2) were administered online. Consistent with past research, CM history was positively correlated with various mental health difficulties. All CM subscales except Sexual Abuse were positively associated with all interpersonal conflict scales, and various mental health symptoms were positively correlated with interpersonal conflict. Mediation analyses demonstrated that overall trauma symptoms fully mediated the relationship between CM and psychological aggression by the partner and self, as well as sexual coercion by the partner. In addition, the TSC-40 SATI fully mediated the pathway between CM and psychological aggression by the partner and self, as well as sexual coercion by the partner. Trauma symptoms are highlighted as a key factor in the relationship between CM history and interpersonal conflict in current adult relationships. These findings are important in developing college programming that targets vulnerable students with a maltreatment history for both mental health and relationship assistance, which will have implications for their overall college adaptation.