Impact of Childhood Adversity on Self-Concept & Quality of Peer Relationships in Adolescence

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2009-09-04

Authors

Smith, Lauren Christine

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Abstract

Experiences of childhood adversity have been found to be related to maladjustment in multiple aspects of mental health and development. The current study examined the impact of childhood adversity (separation/loss of caretaker, illness/injury/non-caretaker loss, physical neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, witnessing violence, and sexual abuse) on self-concept and quality of peer relationships in 68 adolescents, aged 12 to 18, with various histories of adversity. Specifically, self-concept was examined as a mediator between a history of adversity in childhood and the quality of peer relationships during adolescence. The findings suggested that self-concept during adolescence was a better predictor of the quality of peer relationships during adolescence than one's history of adversity. These results have implications for understanding resilience in children with experiences of adversity, particularly that they are not "doomed" to poor quality relationships with their peers during adolescence.

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