Childhood adversity and PTSD experiences: Testing a multiple mediator model.

Siobhan Murphy, Mark Shevlin, Cherie Armour, Ask Elklit, Mogens N. Christoffersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
369 Downloads (Pure)


The association between childhood adversity and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology has been argued to be both directly and indirectly explained through a number of psychological mechanisms. This study builds on recent findings from an analysis of childhood adversity co-occurrence that revealed 4 groups: emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and multiple (overall) abuse and a no-abuse group to investigate the relationship between PTSD experiences. Data was analyzed using a Danish stratified probability survey that included 2980 interviews of 24-year-olds. A multiple mediator model was conducted to assess the role of self-esteem, social support, and being bullied at school on the abuse types and PTSD experiences. Results indicated that the 3 mediating variables were all statistically significant with low social support exerting the strongest influence in the association between childhood adversity and PTSD experiences. Low self-esteem, however, was only associated with sexual abuse. The current study supports that there are direct and indirect effects between childhood adversity and PTSD experiences but suggests there may be additional mechanisms underlying this relationship. Further exploration into underlying mechanisms will promote and inform intervention and treatment programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-231
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2014


  • Childhood adversity
  • social support
  • self-esteem
  • bullying
  • PTSD experiences


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