From trauma to intimacy: Examining the link between childhood maltreatment and adult sexual functioning – The mediating role of self-criticism

Dana Lassri*, Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Childhood maltreatment has been linked to negative sexual functioning, but the underlying mechanisms for this association are poorly understood. Objective: Addressing this gap, this study investigates the mediating role of self-criticism in the association between childhood maltreatment and adult sexual functioning. Participants and setting: Two independent studies were conducted, each utilizing a distinct dataset to enhance the robustness and generalizability of the findings. The sample in Study 1 included 914 participants, while the sample in Study 2 consisted of 451 women. Both samples completed self-report online questionnaires; however, in Study 2, we purposefully oversampled for child sexual abuse survivors. Methods: This study employed a mediation model using PROCESS. Results: Study 1 confirmed the negative association between childhood maltreatment and sexual functioning, as well as the positive association between childhood maltreatment and self-criticism. Self-criticism was also negatively associated with sexual functioning. The mediation analysis revealed that self-criticism significantly mediated the association between childhood maltreatment and sexual functioning. Study 2 built upon these findings by oversampling childhood sexual abuse survivors and incorporating comprehensive measures of sexual functioning. The results in Study 2 replicated the findings of Study 1, providing a more representative understanding of the link between childhood maltreatment and sexual functioning. Conclusions: The findings highlight the importance of self-criticism as a potential mechanism underlying the negative impact of childhood maltreatment on sexual functioning in adulthood. This knowledge can inform interventions and therapeutic approaches aimed at addressing self-criticism and improving sexual well-being in individuals with a history of childhood maltreatment.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number106663
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume149
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Childhood maltreatment
  • Mediation analysis
  • Personality
  • Self-criticism
  • Sexual functioning

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'From trauma to intimacy: Examining the link between childhood maltreatment and adult sexual functioning – The mediating role of self-criticism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this