Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Childhood Neglect Affects Adult Relationship Capacity

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Childhood Neglect Affects Adult Relationship Capacity

Article excerpt

AT THE APA ANNUAL MEETING

SAN FRANCISCO--Childhood neglect correlated with impaired capacity for close social relationships as an adult in a study of 114 nonpsychotic psychiatric inpatients.

The difficulty for patients with a history of childhood neglect centered more in maintaining than in starting close social relationships as adults, Thachell Tanis and Lisa J. Cohen, Ph.D., reported in a press briefing and a poster presentation at the meeting.

The study used separate clinical self-report surveys to assess patients' childhood histories and adult relational capacity. The Multidimensional Neglectful Behavior Scale assessed emotional, physical, cognitive, and supervisory neglect in the patients' past. Patients also completed the relational domain of the Severity Indices of Personality Problems to assess capacity for intimacy or enduring relationships and the ability to feel recognized in relationships.

Each type of neglect significantly and negatively affected each facet in the relational domain. "Everything correlated with everything," said Ms. Tanis, a doctoral student at City College of New York.

The deficits were most striking in patients' capacity for enduring relationships, said Dr. Cohen, professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York. Childhood neglect as a whole, for example, correlated with an 81% greater negative effect on adult capacity for enduring relationships, compared with the negative effect on capacity for intimacy

The cohort was 57% female, with a mean age of 39 years. …

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