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Resilience Factors in Women with Severe Early-Life Maltreatment

Hillmann, Karen ; Neukel, Corinne ; Hagemann, Dirk ; Herpertz, Sabine C. ; Bertsch, Katja

In: Psychopathology, 49 (2016), Nr. 4. pp. 261-268. ISSN 0254-4962 (Print-Ausg.), 1423-033X (Online-Ausg.)

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INTRODUCTION: Early-life maltreatment (ELM) has long-lasting negative consequences and is the most important general risk factor for mental disorders. Nevertheless, a number of maltreated children grow up to become healthy adults and have therefore been called ‘resilient’. The aim of the current study is to investigate ‘resilience factors’ in the context of severe ELM.

METHOD: The study was part of the large multicenter project Understanding and Breaking the Intergenerational Cycle of Abuse (UBICA). A total of 89 women were examined, 33 with ELM and at least one lifetime mental disorder (nonresilient), 19 with ELM but without lifetime mental disorders (resilient), and 37 without ELM and without lifetime mental disorders (controls). ELM and other circumstances before the age of 18 years were assessed with the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse (CECA) Interview. Additional relevant person and situation factors were measured with the Structured Clinical Interview for Mental Disorders (SCID-I), International Personality Disorder Exam-ination (IPDE), Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), Vulnerable Attachment Style Questionnaire (VASQ), Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS), NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), and Multiple-Choice Vocabulary Intelligence Test (MWT-B). Factor analyses and paired t tests were performed to identify those variables which differentiate best between the three groups. In addition, a discriminant analysis was conducted to detect the accuracy of assigning women to their specific group.

RESULTS: The factor analyses revealed 10 resilience factors based on which we could correctly assign 80% of the women to their group in the discriminant analysis. t tests of factor scores showed that resilient and nonresilient maltreated women mainly differed in current individual attributes (e.g. impulsivity, attachment style), while resilient and nonresilient maltreated women differed from controls in both their current individual attributes and their view of their situation as a child.

CONCLUSION: The 4 variables neuroticism, extraversion, vulnerable attachment, and perceived loneliness during childhood were identified as most important in differentiating all three examined groups. Therefore, prevention and intervention programs focusing on the individual’s development of secure attachment and social competence may be of particular importance in the context of ELM.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Psychopathology
Volume: 49
Number: 4
Publisher: Karger
Place of Publication: Basel
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2019 10:32
Date: 2016
ISSN: 0254-4962 (Print-Ausg.), 1423-033X (Online-Ausg.)
Page Range: pp. 261-268
Faculties / Institutes: Medizinische Fakultät Heidelberg > Psychiatrische Universitätsklinik
Subjects: 610 Medical sciences Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords: psychopathology , risk factors , violence , protective factors , trauma , physical and sexual abuse , childhood , mental health
Additional Information: Dieser Beitrag ist aufgrund einer (DFG-geförderten) Allianz bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich. This publication is freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.
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