Child maltreatment history and subsequent romantic relationships: Exploring a psychological route to dyadic difficulties

David DiLillo, Terri Lewis, Andrea Di Loreto-Colgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


A sample of 174 college students involved in heterosexual dating relationships was studied to investigate the role of psychological distress in mediating links between child maltreatment (CM) history and current couple functioning. Females, but not males, with a history of CM reported greater levels of psychological and relationship difficulties than did non-maltreated women. Psychological distress among females was also found to mediate associations between abuse history and various aspects of couple functioning including intimacy, sexuality, and conflict resolution. No such relationships were found for males. The implications of these results and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-36
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007



  • Abuse
  • Child maltreatment
  • Couples
  • Dating
  • Gender differences
  • Psychological distress
  • Sexual abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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