Childhood psychological malteatment and quality of marriage: The mediating role of psychological distress

Andrea R. Perry, David DiLillo, James Peugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


This study examined the role of adult psychological distress in mediating associations between childhood psychological maltreatment and marital satisfaction in a sample of 65 newlywed couples. Results indicated that a significant linkage between psychological maltreatment (including emotional abuse and emotional neglect) and marital satisfaction was eliminated when accounting for global psychological distress, hostility, and depression in the overall sample. These findings were moderated by gender, such that for men, the long-term correlates of emotional abuse were mediated by broad psychological distress and paranoia. Conversely, for women, relations between emotional abuse and emotional neglect and later marital satisfaction were mediated by obsessive-compulsive tendencies and hostility. The implications of these results for future research and clinical work will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-142
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Emotional Abuse
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 14 2007



  • Child maltreatment
  • Emotional abuse
  • Long-term effects
  • Marital satisfaction
  • Psychological functioning
  • Psychological maltreatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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