“Why Do I Feel So Bad?” Childhood Experiences of Emotional Neglect, Negative Affectivity, and Adult Psychiatric Symptoms

Adriano Schimmenti, Noemi R. Maganuco, Luana La Marca, Nunzia Di Dio, Erika Gelsomino, Alessia M. Gervasi


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between childhood experiences of emotional neglect, negative affectivity, and adult psychiatric symptoms. Two hundred fifty-two participants aged between 18 and 65 years old completed questionnaires on parental bonding, negative feelings, and current psychiatric symptoms. Correlational analyses showed that childhood emotional neglect, negative affectivity, and psychiatric symptoms were significantly and positively associated. A hierarchical multiple regression analysis showed that female gender, younger age, and negative affectivity predicted the severity of psychiatric symptoms. A mediation analysis showed that scores on negative affectivity fully mediated the relationship between emotional neglect scores and psychiatric symptom scores. The study findings suggest one possible pathway for adult psychopathology. This has its early roots in childhood experiences of emotional neglect, and its actual triggers in negative feelings that are difficult to regulate for people who were emotionally neglected. Educational, clinical, and social implications of this developmental pathway are discussed.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n6s1p259

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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