Date of Conferral







Sandra Rasmussen


Researchers have documented an increase in child abuse in the past 50 years. Child abuse is associated with many adult physical, emotional, social, and cognitive impairments. To date, physical and sexual abuse have received more attention than verbal abuse. There is a gap in the literature on the effect of verbal abuse on mental health. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of verbal abuse in children on adult psychological functioning. A retrospective, casual-comparative design was used drawing a sample of adults (n = 224), ages 18 to 40, who reported verbal abuse as children as well as those not reporting verbal abuse, from local universities and colleges. Participants completed the Childhood Traumatic History Questionnaire and the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-IV (MCMI- IV). Logistic regression was used to examine the relationships between verbal abuse in children within 4 research questions. The analysis of 4 research questions showed that verbal abuse significantly predicts the likelihood of anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Verbal abuse significantly predicted the likelihood of one personality disorder, but not others. Better understanding of effects of verbal abuse in children on adult psychological functioning could equip individuals and practitioners with prevention and treatment measures that could reduce the adverse effects verbal abuse on mental health.