PhD Candidate, Psychology, University of New England, Armidale, Australia, Bellingen, NSW, AustraliaMary-Anne Kate MSc. is a PhD Candidate (Psychology) at the University of New England, Australia. Mary-Anne has worked for many years as a Public Policy Analyst, Senior Policy Officer and Policy Advisor assessing and developing national and European Union policies and practices to improve quality of life outcomes for vulnerable client groups. Her doctoral thesis examines dissociative responses to chronic childhood maltreatment in an effort to understand the circumstances in which dissociative disorders arise and the implications for developing policies aimed at prevention, diagnoses and trauma-informed services. Mary-Anne was awarded a Masters degree in Social Policy with distinction from the University of Edinburgh and her work has been pubished by the UNHCR, European peak bodies, the European Commission and European Parliament.
028 – The Relationship Between Childhood Abuse, Parent-child Dynamics and Dissociation in a Non-clinical Sample
Saturday, November 28
2:40 PM - 3:00 PM
Room: Heritage Ballroom
PhD Candidate, Psychology, University of New England, Armidale, Australia, Bellingen, NSW, Australia
To develop a greater understanding of the aetiology of Dissociative Disorders this research examines the relationship between dissociation, childhood abuse and parent-child dynamics known or theorised to create, contribute, or moderate a dissociative response. Three hundred students and staff of the University of New England completed a lengthy questionnaire to assess dissociation (Dell’s Multidimensional Inventory of Dissociation - 60 question version), attachment style (Lyons-Ruth's Relationship Questionnaire), experiences of childhood maltreatment (a version of Freyd, Deprince & Zurbriggen’s Betrayal Trauma Index condensed and revised by Kate), and dynamics between the parent and child (Kate's Parent-Child Dynamics Questionnaire). Initial analysis reveals the first strong correlation between dissociation and childhood abuse (.513**), with the highest correlations found for serious injury, asphyxiation, being locked in a confined space, threats of abandonment and/or death, and sexual abuse that is invasive or in which the child is made to play an active role. Parent-child dynamics with moderate correlations to dissociation include insecure attachment, isolating the child from the outside world, hampering the child’s journey towards independence, a climate of fear in the family home, lack of recovery time between abusive episodes, and the parent/s blaming the child for the abuse and its consequences.