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Effects of child abuse on autistic traits: Mediating effects of internal working models of attachment

[Speaker] Matsuo, Kazuya:1
[Co-author] Oura, Shinichi:1, Fukui, Yoshikazu:2, Fujii, Tsutomu:3, Shima, Yoshihiro:4
1:Graduate School of Humanities, Konan University (Japan), 2:Konan University (Japan), 3:Sungshin Women's University (Korea(Republic of Korea)), 4:Kagoshima University (Japan)

Abuse is known to cause responsive attachment disabilities, which results in difficulties when diagnosing autism. Effects of experiences of being abused and internal working models (IWM) of attachment on autistic traits were investigated. The experiences of being abused were categorized into two variables: positive trauma consisting of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, and negative trauma, consisting of neglect. A survey indicated that positive trauma impaired IWM of the self, whereas negative trauma impaired IWM of both self and others, and both types of abuse resulted in high autistic traits. Moreover, high autistic traits were observed in many people with experiences of negative trauma and less positive trauma. These results suggest that experiences of abuse do not directly contribute to autistic traits, but rather, abuse is indirectly associated with autistic traits through the mediation of an unstable IWM. Furthermore, the type of abuse differentially contributed to the development of autistic traits.
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