Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 29, Issue 7, pp 749–756 | Cite as

Childhood Maltreatment Experiences and Child Abuse Potential: Temperamental Sensitivity as Moderator?

  • Alexandra Voorthuis
  • Ritu Bhandari
  • Dorothée Out
  • Rixt van der Veen
  • Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg
  • Marinus H. Van IJzendoorn
Outcomes for Survivors of Abuse


This study aimed to examine the relationship between negative experiences in childhood (physical-, sexual-, and emotional abuse and emotional neglect) and the risk for an individual to become a perpetrator of child maltreatment in adulthood. Participants were 337 female college students who completed self-report measures of childhood trauma and temperament. Risk for child abuse was assessed with the Child Abuse Potential Inventory. Results showed experiences of emotional neglect significantly predicted higher child abuse potential. Additionally it was shown that experiences of physical abuse significantly predicted higher child abuse potential but only in those individuals with high temperamental orienting sensitivity. These results underline the potentially damaging long-term effects of emotional neglect in childhood and indicate temperamental sensitivity may moderate the relationship between being abused as a child and being at risk for maltreating one’s own offspring.


Child abuse potential Temperament Orienting sensitivity Emotional neglect Physical abuse CAPI 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra Voorthuis
    • 1
  • Ritu Bhandari
    • 1
  • Dorothée Out
    • 1
  • Rixt van der Veen
    • 1
  • Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg
    • 1
  • Marinus H. Van IJzendoorn
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Child and Family StudiesLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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