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Self-Awareness, Affect Regulation, and Relatedness: Differential Sequels of Childhood Versus Adult Victimization Experiences

Briere, John PhD*; Rickards, Shannae PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: June 2007 - Volume 195 - Issue 6 - p 497-503
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31803044e2
Original Article

This study examined abuse and trauma exposure as it predicted identity problems, affect dysregulation, and relational disturbance in 620 individuals from the general population. Multivariate analyses indicated that maternal (but not paternal) emotional abuse was uniquely associated with elevations on all 7 scales of the Inventory of Altered Self-Capacities (IASC): Interpersonal Conflicts, Idealization-Disillusionment, Abandonment Concerns, Identity Impairment, Susceptibility to Influence, Affect Dysregulation, and Tension Reduction Activities. Low paternal (but not low maternal) emotional support was associated with Interpersonal Conflicts, Abandonment Concerns, and Tension Reduction Behaviors. Paternal emotional support did not significantly decrease the negative effects of maternal emotional abuse. Sexual abuse was predictive of all IASC scales except for Interpersonal Conflicts and Identity Impairment. Noninterpersonal traumas and adult traumas were typically unrelated to IASC scales. Childhood emotional and sexual maltreatment—perhaps especially maternal emotional abuse—may be critical factors in the development of disturbed self-capacities.

*Department of Psychiatry, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California; and ‡private clinical practice, Thousand Oaks, California.

As author (but not copyright holder) of the MDI, DAPS, and IASC, John Briere receives royalties from Psychological Assessment Resources, Odessa, FL.

Send reprint requests to John Briere, PhD, Psychological Trauma Program, LAC+USC Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90033. E-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.