Thesis

Relationship between childhood maltreatment and adult personality disorders: the exploration of moral emotions and behaviors

This study explored the relationship between childhood maltreatment, personality disorders, moral emotions (guilt/shame), and moral behaviors (lying). This study consisted of 190 participants from a diverse undergraduate university. Childhood maltreatment, personality disorders, and guilt/shame were assessed using questionnaires and lying was assessed during a cheating paradigm. It was found that higher levels of childhood maltreatment predicted more ASPD, BPD, and HPD. Less guilt significantly predicted higher levels of ASPD traits, but guilt did not act as a moderator for the relation between maltreatment and ASPD. More shame did not predict more BPD, HPD, or NPD, nor did shame act as a moderator for the relation between maltreatment and these personality disorders. In exploratory analyses with gender, maltreatment, and guilt/shame in three-way interactions, guilt moderated the relation between maltreatment and ASPD, and shame moderated the relations between maltreatment and HPD and NPD, but these effects were in opposite directions for males and females. For females the effect of maltreatment on PDs was stronger among those with lower guilt/shame, whereas for males the effect of maltreatment on PDs was stronger among those with higher guilt/shame. Shame did not mediate the relation between lying and BPD, HPD or NPD. Lastly, guilt did not mediate the relation between lying and ASPD, however, an exploratory analysis was conducted and shame did mediate the relation between lying and ASPD.

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