Childhood Abuse and Depressive Symptoms in Adulthood: The Mediating Effects of Personality Traits

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Rira SONG, Chung-Ang university, South Korea
Min-Ah LEE, Chung-Ang University, South Korea
This study analyzed the effects of childhood abuse on depressive symptoms in adulthood, and investigated whether the Big Five personality traits (i.e., extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience) would mediate between abusive experiences in childhood and depressive symptoms in adulthood. The data were drawn from the 2012 Korean General Social Survey, a nationally representative survey. Multiple regression analyses showed that abusive experiences in childhood were significantly associated with depressive symptoms in adulthood. As the frequency of physical and emotional abuse increased, the level of depressive symptoms increased. Personality traits also had significant effects on depressive symptoms. The lower emotional stability and conscientiousness were negatively associated with depressive symptoms. The findings also revealed that emotional stability mediated between physical and emotional abuse in childhood and depressive symptoms in adulthood. Exposures to child abuse were associated with a low sense of emotional stability, which, in turn, increased depressive symptoms. The findings suggest that the deleterious effects of childhood abuse on mental health in adulthood can be sustained through which abusive experiences in childhood affect emotional stability as a personality trait.