Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 189–198

Relations of Sociotropy and Autonomy to Developmental Experiences Among Psychiatric Patients


  • Tamar Mendelson
    • Duke University
  • Clive J. Robins
    • Duke University
  • Courtney S. Johnson
    • Duke University

DOI: 10.1023/A:1014569703020

Cite this article as:
Mendelson, T., Robins, C.J. & Johnson, C.S. Cognitive Therapy and Research (2002) 26: 189. doi:10.1023/A:1014569703020


This study investigated the relations of self-reported childhood trauma and negative parenting styles to current levels of sociotropy and autonomy in a sample of 77 adult psychiatric inpatients. Controlling for depression symptoms, sociotropy was not significantly related to any of the parenting or trauma variables. Autonomy was related most strongly to emotional abuse and was also related to physical abuse, lack of parental care, and parental overprotection. Regression analyses controlling for depression and several other childhood variables indicated that emotional abuse was significantly related to sociotropy, while emotional abuse and lack of parental care were associated with autonomy. Sexual abuse, witnessing violence, emotional neglect, physical neglect, and loss were not found to be significant predictors of sociotropy or autonomy in these regression analyses. Results suggest that certain developmental experiences, particularly emotional abuse, are associated with sociotropy and autonomy and perhaps may contribute to the formation of these personality styles.

sociotropyautonomychildhood traumaparenting stylesvulnerability to depression
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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002