The role of autonomy-connectedness in the relation between childhood stressful life-events, current posttraumatic symptoms, and internalising psychopathology in adulthood

J. Maas*, O.M. Laceulle, M.H.J. Bekker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective
Autonomy–connectedness (AC), the adult capacity for self-governance while being connected to others, reflects the healthy capacity of adults for self-steering. The present study’s main aim was to investigate whether childhood stressful life events were associated with psychopathological symptoms in
adulthood, but only in people with AC deficits.

Method
We estimated path models based on data from several assessment waves, concerning childhood stressful life events, AC, and internalizing psycho pathological symptoms (including posttraumatic symptoms) completed by panel members from the
Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social Sciences panel (community sample).

Results
We found positive associations between AC deficits and childhood stressful life events, on one hand, and psychopathological symptoms in adulthood, on the other hand, as well as between childhood stressful life events and the AC component Sensitivity to Others. Importantly, we found that the association between childhood stressful life events and trauma-related hyperarousal symptoms was strongest in individuals with low levels of the AC components Self-Awareness and Capacity for Managing New Situations (moderation). Childhood stressful life events also interacted with Self-Awareness in predicting general mental health symptoms. All effect sizes were small.

Conclusions
Deficits in AC, particularly regarding Self-Awareness and Capacity for Managing New Situations, may represent a vulnerability factor for developing trauma-related psychopathology. Enhancing AC may be a beneficial treatment approach for trauma-related psychopathology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-352
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • 5-ITEM
  • ANXIETY
  • ATTACHMENT STYLES
  • DEPRESSION
  • PERSONALITY
  • SCALE
  • SEX-DIFFERENCES
  • SOCIOTROPY
  • autonomy-connectedness
  • childhood stressful life events
  • internalizing psychopathology
  • posttraumatic symptoms
  • stress-vulnerability

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