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Individuals with and without child maltreatment experiences are evaluated similarly and do not differ in facial affect display at zero- and first-acquaintance

Hautle, L.-L., Kurath, J., Jellestad, L., Lüönd, A. M., Wingenbach, T. S. H. ORCID:, Frühholz, S., Jansson, B., Niedtfeld, I. and Pfaltz, M. C. (2023) Individuals with and without child maltreatment experiences are evaluated similarly and do not differ in facial affect display at zero- and first-acquaintance. Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation, 10. 17. ISSN 2051-6673

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1186/s40479-023-00222-3


Background: Individuals with a history of child maltreatment (CM) are more often disliked, rejected and victimized compared to individuals without such experiences. However, contributing factors for these negative evaluations are so far unknown. Objective: Based on previous research on adults with borderline personality disorder (BPD), this preregistered study assessed whether negative evaluations of adults with CM experiences, in comparison to unexposed controls, are mediated by more negative and less positive facial affect display. Additionally, it was explored whether level of depression, severity of CM, social anxiety, social support, and rejection sensitivity have an influence on ratings. Methods: Forty adults with CM experiences (CM +) and 40 non-maltreated (CM-) adults were filmed for measurement of affect display and rated in likeability, trustworthiness, and cooperativeness by 100 independent raters after zero-acquaintance (no interaction) and 17 raters after first-acquaintance (short conversation). Results: The CM + and the CM- group were neither evaluated significantly different, nor showed significant differences in affect display. Contrasting previous research, higher levels of BPD symptoms predicted higher likeability ratings (p = .046), while complex post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms had no influence on ratings. Conclusions: The non-significant effects could be attributed to an insufficient number of participants, as our sample size allowed us to detect effects with medium effect sizes (f2 = .16 for evaluation; f2 = .17 for affect display) with a power of .95. Moreover, aspects such as the presence of mental disorders (e.g., BPD or post-traumatic stress disorder), might have a stronger impact than CM per se. Future research should thus further explore conditions (e.g., presence of specific mental disorders) under which individuals with CM are affected by negative evaluations as well as factors that contribute to negative evaluations and problems in social relationships.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:114381
Publisher:BioMed Central


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