Childhood psychological maltreatment, sense of self, and PTSD symptoms in emerging adulthood

Justin R. Watts, Nicholas R. Lazzareschi, Yanhong Liu, Deirdre O'Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study outlines the relationships among childhood psychological maltreatment (CPM), an understudied form of maltreatment, sense of self (SOS), a developmental construct negatively impacted by trauma, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in emerging adults. Results from regression analysis on a sample of emerging adults (N = 358) indicated CPM to be the greatest predictor of a weaker SOS, even when considered alongside other types of child maltreatment. Among those exposed to CPM, SOS was a significant predictor of PTSD symptoms, explaining 34.1% of the variance in the outcome. Counseling interventions that focus on SOS during emerging adulthood are recommended as one important consideration for survivors of CPM who experience PTSD symptoms. Specific counseling practice and research implications are included.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-105
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Counseling and Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • PTSD
  • child maltreatment
  • psychological maltreatment
  • sense of self
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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