THIS study examined whether reported childhood maltreatment is associated with elevated levels of peculiar perceptions and beliefs. Participants were an unselected sample of 458 college students. Peculiarity was measured using the Perceptual Aberration and Magical Ideation scales. Childhood maltreatment was measured using the Physical Punishment scale from the Assessing Environments III, the Sexual Abuse Scale, and the Childhood Experiences Questionnaire. Higher levels of peculiarity were associated with reported childhood maltreatment among both males and females. These associations could not be accounted for by shared variance with negative affect or by scores on the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale. Individuals who reported a history of childhood maltreatment were 10.5 times more likely than individuals who did not report such a history to have deviantly high Perceptual Aberration scores. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that childhood maltreatment can contribute to elevated levels of peculiarity, and they raise the possibility that at least some of the unusual perceptions and beliefs exhibited by individuals with psychiatric disorders such as personality disorders and major depressive disorder can be traced, at least in part, to a history of childhood maltreatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health