The main aim of the study was to proof the influence of childhood trauma for the personality formation and psychopathology. The hypothesis that traumatic experiences in early childhood impact personality formation and psychopathology is well known in psychology and psychiatry, but difficult to verify statistically in methodological terms and very often denied especially in the group of refugees or politically persecuted people.
The subjects were divided into two groups: those who had experienced trauma before age five (group 1) and those who were older in the moment of trauma (group 2). Both groups suffered from chronic untreated PTSD. In order to prove the research hypothesis MMPI-2 profiles of both groups were compared using the Student's t- test, and the Mann-Whitney U-test. The study has been conducted on politically persecuted Poles, never treated psychiatrically. People traumatised in adulthood were:
- Former concentration camps prisoners
- Former political prisoners of the communistic period
- People deported from Poland due to political reasons by the Soviet regime to Siberia
- The others e.g. veterans, Holocaust survivors.
People traumatised in childhood were mostly people deported from Poland due to political reasons by the Soviet regime to Siberia and former concentration camp prisoners.
Statistically significant differences between the groups were found for the F validity scale and following clinical scales: hypochondriasis (Hy), depression (D), psychopathic deviate (Pd), psychasthenia (Pt), schizophrenia (Sc), and social introversion (Si). All the significantly different scores were higher in group traumatized in childhood, without exception. People exposed to trauma under age five had profiles similar to those traumatized in adult- hood, but they demonstrated more intense experience of symptoms. Clinically significant are higher scores on the psychasthenia, schizophrenia, and social introversion scales, espcecially psychopathic deviate, that indicated pathology only in the childhood trauma group. Taken together, these symptoms lead to withdrawal and hindrance of social functioning. This outcome confirms the hypothesis concerning the influence of various early childhood factors (such as trauma) on the personality formation and personality traits in adulthood.
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No conflict of interest or funding.