International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 15 Num. 1 - March 2015


Links between Childhood Experiences and Avoidant Personality Disorder Symptomatology

Volume 15 Num. 1 - March 2015 - Pages 101-116


Tamara K Hageman , Andrew JP Francis , Ashlee M Field , Steven N Carr


Research indicates that some types of adverse childhood experience may be involved in the development of avoidant personality disorder (AVPD). The current study examined relationships between retrospectively reported childhood maltreatment, parental bonding, and teasing on levels of adult AVPD symptomatology. The current study incorporated a cross-section research design. Four hundred and eleven, non-clinical participants (99 males and 312 females), ranging in age from 18 to 65 years (M= 29.75 years, SD= 11.44 years), completed a survey measuring current depression, anxiety and AVPD symptoms, and retrospective reports of childhood maltreatment, parental bonding and teasing. Consistent with hypotheses, AVPD symptomatology correlated positively with depression and anxiety symptoms, childhood maltreatment, parental overprotection and childhood teasing; while a negative association was found with AVPD and parental care. In regression, after controlling for the influence of depression and anxiety, sexual abuse and social behaviour teasing significantly and uniquely predicted AVPD symptomatology. Contrary to expectations, parental bonding was not a unique predictor of AVPD symptomatology in regression modelling. This study contributes to the understanding of factors potentially influencing the development of AVPD.

Key words:

avoidant personality disorder, childhood, teasing, parenting, anxiety

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