Understanding PTSD Symptoms Resulting from Childhood Emotional Abuse and Boundary Dissolution: The Mediating Role of Narcissistic Pathology

Bruria Zarbiv, Limor Goldner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Emotional abuse and neglect and boundary dissolution in caregiver-child relationships are considered risk factors for the emergence of psychopathology as well as impairments in children’s self-system. The current study examined the associations between emotional abuse, neglect, and various types of boundary dissolution experienced during adolescence on young adults’ current narcissistic vulnerability, narcissistic grandiosity, and PTSD symptoms. A community sample of 686 young adults who self-reported experiences of emotional abuse and neglect and boundary dissolution as adolescents completed a series of questionnaires online. A mediation model incorporating parentification, triangulation, psychological control, and narcissistic pathology was used to examine the contribution of emotional abuse, emotional neglect, boundary dissolution, and narcissistic pathology to participants’ PTSD symptoms. The results indicated direct effects between emotional abuse and PTSD symptoms and between boundary dissolution and PTSD symptoms. An indirect effect was found between boundary dissolution and PTSD symptoms via the mechanism of narcissistic pathology. These findings underscore the need for clinicians to be aware of the adverse effects of emotional abuse and boundary dissolution in childhood on PTSD symptoms, and the potential adverse effects of boundary dissolution on the self-system.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1279-1298
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
Volume31
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Boundary dissolution
  • PTSD symptoms
  • emotional abuse
  • narcissistic pathology

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)

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