Single Paper or Case Study
Traumatic Events, Interpersonal Relationships, and Dissociative Symptoms in Young Adulthood
Saturday, March 24
11:25 AM - 11:45 AM
Traumatic events have been linked theoretically and empirically with dissociative symptoms (Van IJzendoorn & Schuengel, 1996; Putnam, 1997), however, little is known about factors that may explain this association. Further, disturbed interpersonal relationships are theorized to relate to dissociation (e.g., Liotti, 2004; Korol, 2008). The study evaluates 1) if different types of interpersonal relationships have differential associations with dissociative symptoms, and 2) if interpersonal relationships explain the link between traumatic events and dissociation in young adulthood. Participants [N=195, M(SD)=22.7(4.4) years] completed questionnaires online assessing 1) aspects of role-confusion with a parent (frightened, mother helplessness, and child as caregiver), 2) avoidant and preoccupied romantic attachment, 3) quality of peer relationships, 4) childhood traumatic events, and 5) dissociation. Individuals with a higher number of childhood traumatic events and lower quality of interpersonal relationships (except child as caregiver), had higher levels of dissociative symptoms, all rs<.05. Mediation analyses (Preacher & Hayes, 2008) showed that a frightened parent-child relationship and avoidant romantic attachment served as mediators between traumatic childhood events and dissociative symptoms. Results point out that regulation of affective states surrounding traumatic events may influence disturbed parent-child relationships and avoidant romantic attachment, and together may operate to perpetuate dissociative states in young adulthood.
- Define a particular kind of disturbed parent-child relationship, a role-confused relationship
- Identify how different interpersonal relationships might affect a child/young adult's psychopathology
- Evaluate the mediating role of different types of interpersonal relationships in the link between childhood traumatic events and dissociative symptoms