Using a Delphi study to establish content validation of emotional deprivation disorder: phase one
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Research regarding adults with antecedents of childhood abuse and/or neglect is broad, but there is no prior research regarding Emotional Deprivation Disorder (EDD). According to Terruwe and Baars (1976), Emotional Deprivation Disorder can develop in adulthood due to a deficit of unconditional love occurring as early as infancy. Symptoms include an inability to relate to others, feelings of inferiority, inadequacy, uncertainty and insecurity. Clinicians need knowledge of Emotional Deprivation Disorder in order to improve treatment outcomes for persons presenting with these symptoms. The purpose of this Delphi study (Phase 1) was to determine whether therapists experienced in the treatment of Emotional Deprivation Disorder could establish provisional content validity for the criteria of this syndrome. This researcher also sought to determine whether these therapists could differentiate Emotional Deprivation Disorder from two other personality disorders and insecure attachment. Eleven therapists participated in a Delphi study, answering three rounds of open-ended questions. Data regarding criteria for Emotional Deprivation Disorder were coded and themes emerged. The three subthemes include: Inability to establish rapport with adults, Undeveloped emotional life, and History of abuse and/or neglect in childhood; each theme had at least one subtheme. These three themes matched criteria established by Terruwe and Baars for EDD, supporting provisional content validity.