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Journal Article


Marysko M, Reck C, Mattheis V, Finke P, Resch F, Moehler E. Psychopathology 2010; 43(2): 104-109.


Departments of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.


(Copyright © 2010, Karger Publishers)






Background: Dissociation has been recognized as a relevant factor within the context of traumatization. Since childhood maltreatment as well as child birth can be regarded as a potential trauma, this study examined dissociation in a sample of 58 young mothers with a history of abuse in comparison to a control group. Methods: All women with newborn children were contacted by mail and presented with the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Women who reached a cutoff for moderate or severe sexual and/or physical abuse and whose children were term babies with Apgar scores >7 were included in the study to form the index group (n = 58); the control group was formed by matching mothers with no reported experiences of physical and/or sexual abuse (n = 61). Dissociative experiences were assessed by the Scale of Dissociative Experiences (German version of the Dissociative Experiences Scale). Results: The results show that mothers with a history of physical or sexual abuse - matched for infant gender, maternal education, marital status, number of infants and birth weight - had significantly more dissociative experiences. Conclusions: Maternal history of abuse significantly increases maternal dissociative experiences, which has frequently been postulated but never empirically shown in a prospective design in a sample of young mothers. As maternal psychopathology has been found to have a profound impact on child development, specifically in the first year of life, these data are of immediate relevance for preventive efforts when targeting at-risk mother-infant dyads.

Language: en


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