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Partner trust and childhood emotional maltreatment : considering the roles of maladaptive schemas and psychological flexibility Baugh, Leah M.

Abstract

Victims of childhood emotional maltreatment (CEM) often experience lasting interpersonal impacts. CEM is commonly experienced as a betrayal of trust and can lead victims to generalize this mistrust to relationships in adulthood, including their romantic partners. The aim of the present study was to better understand the association between CEM and partner trust by examining the relative strength of three potential mediators – psychological flexibility, maladaptive self schemas, and maladaptive other schemas. The study also investigated whether psychological flexibility buffers the association between maladaptive schemas and partner trust. Adults (N = 231) in committed romantic relationships completed measures of CEM, romantic partner trust, maladaptive schemas, and psychological flexibility. Simple and multiple mediation analyses were performed. I found that maladaptive self schemas were a stronger mediator than maladaptive other schemas; however, psychological flexibility was a more potent mediator than either schema type. Contrary to my hypothesis, psychological flexibility did not significantly moderate the effect of maladaptive schemas on partner trust. The findings highlight the importance of attending to and increasing psychological flexibility with victims of CEM to facilitate romantic partner trust. Practical and clinical implications are discussed.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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