Year of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Clinical Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Christine Fiore

Commitee Members

Cameo Stanick, Gyda Swaney, Nadine Wisniewski, Elizabeth Hubble


child abuse, early maladaptive schemas, intimate partner violence, romantic attachment


The University of Montana


The experience of both childhood abuse and adult intimate partner violence is an unfortunate reality in the lives of many individuals, with research suggesting that the experience of childhood abuse puts individuals at risk for intimate partner violence later in life. While research suggests that revictimization is a risk for individuals who have experienced childhood abuse, relatively little is known about this relationship. The current study seeks to examine the relationship between childhood abuse, intimate partner violence, and its association with adult romantic attachment, early maladaptive schemas, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and depressive symptoms. Adult romantic attachments are the affectional bonds individuals hold with their significant others. IndividualsÆ attachments to their significant others can be measured by their placement on the spectrums of two domains: attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance. In the current study, adult romantic attachment was hypothesized to mediate the relationship between childhood abuse and intimate partner violence. Early maladaptive schemas are believed to be a result of toxic childhood experiences, and are broad patterns regarding self and others. Early maladaptive schemas can be placed into five domains: disconnection and rejection, impaired autonomy and performance, impaired limits, other-directedness, and overvigilance and inhibition. In the current study, early maladaptive schemas were hypothesized to mediate the relationship between childhood abuse and intimate partner violence. Finally, two common outcomes to both childhood abuse and intimate partner violence were examined. The experience of both childhood abuse and IPV was hypothesized to be associated with depressive symptoms and posttraumatic stress symptoms. This study used a university sample recruited through the psychology research pool. Mediational analyses and variance analyses determined significant differences in participantsÆ abuse experiences and feelings of depression, posttraumatic stress, as well as their endorsement of maladaptive schemas and insecure attachment styles. This study helps provide additional information regarding the link between childhood abuse and intimate partner violence, which helps guide research in to appropriate clinical interventions for individuals with revictimization experiences.

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© Copyright 2016 Aryn Ziehnert