The impact of childhood trauma on romantic relationships and the mediating role of the stress response system



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This study aims to expand the current body of research to understand further the underlying biological mechanism that mediates the relationship between experiencing childhood trauma and healthy adult romantic relationships and mental health. Positive relationships and good marital quality have been linked to better health and a lower risk of mortality (Robles & Kiecolt-Glaser, 2003; Robles et al., 2014). At the same time, childhood trauma has been linked with a higher incidence of morbidity and mortality (Grummittet al., 2021). There is no lack of evidence that early experiences of trauma impact relationship health and marital outcomes (Dilillo et al., 2009). The current study will examine these mechanisms using a publicly available data set, Midlife in the United States. Structural Equation Modeling will be utilized to test the relationship between childhood trauma and relationship risk and mental health, mediated by the biological correlate IL-6. Increased levels of IL-6 have been implicated in the activation of the stress response system and emotional dysregulation (Carpenter et al., 2010). Understanding this relationship can improve targeted therapeutic interventions for individuals and couples who have experienced childhood trauma.



Relationships, Trauma