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Child maltreatment and trajectories of personality and behavioral functioning: Implications for the development of personality disorder

  • Jungmeen Kim (a1), Dante Cicchetti (a2), Fred A. Rogosch (a3) and Jody Todd Manly (a3)

Abstract

This study investigated the longitudinal impact of maltreatment parameters on personality processes and maladjustment and prospective relationships between personality trajectory classes and subsequent maladjustment outcomes. The sample involved maltreated (n = 249) and nonmaltreated (n = 200) children followed longitudinally between ages 6 and 10. Growth mixture modeling indicated multifinality in personality development depending on the risk status (i.e., maltreated vs. nonmaltreated). Two trajectory classes of ego resiliency were identified for maltreated children: those who showed a declining trajectory exhibited greater maladjustment. In contrast, three trajectory classes of ego control were identified for nonmaltreated children; the subgroups showing increases in ego undercontrol or dramatic changes from high ego undercontrol to high ego overcontrol exhibited poor adjustment. Experiencing multiple maltreatment subtypes and physical/sexual abuse were related to higher levels of ego undercontrol and externalizing symptomatology, whereas early onset of maltreatment was associated with the low and decreasing trajectory of ego resiliency and higher levels of internalizing symptomatology. The findings suggest that ego resiliency and ego control, personality processes related to self-regulation, may be important factors in identifying distinct pathways to later personality disorders as well as pathways to resilient functioning.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jungmeen Kim, Department of Psychology (0436), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061; E-mail: jungmeen@vt.edu.

References

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