Professional Psychology: Research and Practice
Parental alcoholism, childhood sexual abuse, and other forms of child maltreatment are generally viewed as contributing to adult adjustment problems. The long-term effects of these various factors, however, are actually not well understood. The present study found that the largest amount of variance in 255 college students' psychological distress was explained by parental emotional abuse and neglect, with child sexual abuse, parental substance abuse, and other factors explaining additional but smaller amounts of variance in distress. This suggests that comprehensive conceptualizations of family influences on development will result in a more complete understanding of long-term adjustment outcomes than merely focusing on particular childhood risk factors.