Document Type



Author's Final Manuscript

Publication Title

Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma



Publication Date



Research and theory suggest that child maltreatment is linked to experiencing heightened levels of negative emotion, greater need to control these emotions, and difficulty in interpersonal relationships as adults. This study examined links between experiencing multiple types of child maltreatment and intentions to control emotion during charged discussions with intimate partners in adulthood, and whether the link is mediated by hostile and sad-anxious emotions. Ninety-seven couples were recruited from the community, with an oversampling of adults with histories of child maltreatment. In addition to reporting on maltreatment history, couples used video recall to rate their level of negative emotions and intention to control emotion during discussions of relationship difficulties with partners. For both genders, number of types of child maltreatment reported was linked with effort to control emotion, and the relationship was partially mediated by the intensity of participants’ feelings of hostility. For men, the link was also partially mediated by self-reported sadness and anxiety. Findings underscore the importance in treatment of attending to abuse survivors’ experiences of and attempts to manage intense emotions, particularly in couples’ therapy.


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