Multiple Dimensions of Childhood Abuse and Neglect Prospectively Predict Poorer Adult Romantic Functioning

Madelyn H. Labella, William F. Johnson, Jodi Martin, Sarah K. Ruiz, Jessica L. Shankman, Michelle M. Englund, W. Andrew Collins, Glenn I. Roisman, Jeffry A. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The present study used data from the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation (MLSRA) to investigate how multiple dimensions of childhood abuse and neglect predict romantic relationship functioning in adulthood. Several dimensions of abuse and neglect (any experience, type, chronicity, co-occurrence, and perpetrator) were rated prospectively from birth through age 17.5 years. Multimethod assessments of relational competence and violence in romantic relationships were conducted repeatedly from ages 20 to 32 years. As expected, experiencing childhood abuse and neglect was associated with lower romantic competence and more relational violence in adulthood. Follow-up analyses indicated that lower romantic competence was specifically associated with physical abuse, maternal perpetration, chronicity, and co-occurrence, whereas more relational violence was uniquely associated with nonparental perpetration. We discuss these novel prospective findings in the context of theory and research on antecedents of romantic relationship functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-251
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation was supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (R01 HD054850), the National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH40864), and the National Institute on Aging (R01 AG039453). This research was also supported by University of Minnesota Graduate Fellowship awarded to Madelyn Labella, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship (Award Number 756-2014-0109) awarded to Jodi Martin, and a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation awarded to Sarah Ruiz.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © 2017 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.


  • abuse and neglect
  • close relationships
  • relationship violence
  • romantic relationships
  • social development


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