Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Experimental Psychology

Committee Chair

Gilbert Parra

Committee Member

Ronald Landis

Committee Member

David Houston

Committee Member

Robert Cohen


Children commonly witness violence in their family, fall victim to violent acts by caregivers, or suffer from psychological abuse from caregivers. Independent examinations of these experiences have suggested that each can act as a precursor to internalizing problems, externalizing problems, and posttraumatic stress symptoms later in life. There is growing recognition that these forms of maltreatment are highly correlated, and some research has already shown that accounting for multiple forms of maltreatment can alter associations with psychological difficulties. This research sought to simultaneously explore the unique relations of psychological abuse, physical abuse, and witnessing familial violence to internalizing problems, externalizing problems, and posttraumatic stress symptoms. The study also probed the possibility that each of the three forms of maltreatment might impact the relation between the other types of maltreatment and the psychological adjustment outcomes. Further, the project sought to explore the specificity of the results by evaluating the possibility that associations between each of the psychological adjustment outcomes could alter the findings of the first three goals. Results identifies several unique associations for the maltreatment variables that varied by outcome and suggested that several important interactions may exist. Further, accounting for correlated outcome variables in the analyses resulted in some deviations in these results, suggesting that specificity is a concern for research of this type. Overall, the study suggested that psychological abuse may be a particularly robust predictor of each of the three outcomes variables, and that violence-related maltreatment may have a closer nexus with posttraumatic stress symptoms.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.