Abstract

Childhood maltreatment (CM) is a risk factor for a number of psychiatric consequences, including many different mental disorders. Recent research has focused on the connection that CM has with schizotypy and how these adverse experiences during development contribute to symptomatology. Studies have demonstrated that peritraumatic dissociation experienced during CM and trait dissociative symptoms may indirectly affect the relationship between CM and schizotypic psychopathology, helping to elucidate this complex relationship. Moreover, research has indicated cannabis use, especially its use in adolescence, as a potential moderator in the CM-schizotypy relationship. That is, cannabis use further increases the risk that maltreated individuals will experience schizotypic psychopathology. To further examine the association between CM and the expression of schizotypy, the current study explored how peritraumatic and trait dissociation may indirectly affect it and how adolescent cannabis use may impact its strength. Participants (N = 356) were undergraduate students who completed online self-report measures on CM, dissociation, cannabis use, and schizotypic symptoms. Correlational analyses revealed significant associations between CM, schizotypy, trait dissociation, peritraumatic dissociation, and cannabis use frequency. In addition, mediational analyses indicated significant indirect effects of dissociation on CM and schizotypy. However, conditional process analyses did not reveal adolescent cannabis use as a significant moderator in the CM-schizotypy relationship. These results highlight dissociation as an important mechanism driving the expression of schizotypic symptoms among maltreated individuals. Understanding how trauma sequelae lead to schizotypic psychopathology may be crucial in assessing and treating maltreated individuals or those on the psychotic spectrum.

Publication Date

5-20-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Student Type

Graduate

Degree Name

Experimental Psychology (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Psychology (CLA)

Advisor

Lindsay Schenkel

Advisor/Committee Member

Stephanie Godleski

Advisor/Committee Member

Rebecca Houston

Campus

RIT – Main Campus

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