Single Paper or Case Study

Emotional Abuse and Neglect: Increased Vulnerability

Sunday, March 25
3:50 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Logan

The profound negative effects of emotional abuse and neglect are often overshadowed by more overt physical and sexual abuse. In this IRB approved study, participants (n = 766) completed the Adverse Childhood Experience Questionnaire (ACE), Dissociative Experience Scale-II (DES-II), Internalize Shame Scale (ISS), Spielberger Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-T), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Traumatic Events Questionnaire (TEQ), Inventory of Childhood Memories and Imaginings (ICMI), and Difficulties with Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS). Two groups were compared: (1) emotional neglect versus no emotional neglect, and (2) emotional abuse and no emotional abuse. The data was entered into SPSS 24. Multivariate analyses of covariance (with age and gender as covariates) and stepwise regression analyses were calculated. The results indicated that emotional abuse and emotional neglect groups experienced more traumatic events, shame, dissociation, anxiety, fantasy proneness, depression, and difficulty with emotion regulation. The emotional neglect group faired worse on all factors compared to the emotional abuse group, although participants in the emotional abuse group had more physical abuse. It is recommended that clinicians evaluate patients’ emotional abuse/neglect history as well as physical and sexual abuse. These patients should be assessed for multiple psychopathology symptoms including dissociation, shame, anxiety, depression, and difficulty with emotion regulation.

Learning Objectives:

Paula Thomson

Professor and Clinical Psychologist
California State University, Northridge
Studio City, California

Paula Thomson, PsyD, is Professor in the Department of Kinesiology, California State University, Northridge (CSUN). She is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and works in private practice in California. She is Co-Director of the Performance Psychophysiology Laboratory at CSUN, adjunct faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, OperaWorks faculty, Professor Emeritus at York University’s Departments of Theatre and Graduate Studies (Canada). She was a professional dancer and continues work as choreographer and movement coach in dance, theatre and opera. Past professional choreographic company work includes Canadian Opera Company, Canadian Stage Company, Stratford Shakespearean Festival, Northern Lights Dance Theatre, Ballet Jorgen, and UCLA On the Edge of Chaos. She is co-author, Creativity and the Performing Artist: Behind the Mask. In 2013, she was named one of the top 20 female professors in California.


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Emotional Abuse and Neglect: Increased Vulnerability

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