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Pathways Linking Child Physical Abuse, Depression, and Aggressiveness across Genders

Scarpa, A.,
Haden, S. C.,
Abercromby, J. M.
Journal Article
Year Published: 2010
Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, 19(7): 757-776, 2010
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Previous research suggests that child physical abuse, depression, and aggressiveness are linked, but gender differences remain poorly understood. In this study, the authors examined gender differences in the mediational relationships among these constructs, after controlling for the confounding effects of other negative life events. A total of 335 male and female college students completed questionnaires about physical abuse and negative life events that occurred prior to age 18, depressive symptoms, and aggressiveness. Results indicated significant gender differences in the pathways between child physical abuse and depression, and between child abuse and aggressiveness, revealing both direct and mediating links for men but no direct or mediating effects for women. The findings suggest that links among child physical abuse, depression, and aggressiveness are specific to men, and negative life events might play a more potent role for women. Modified Author Abstract.

Correspondence to: Angela Scarpa, Department of Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 109 Williams Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0436; E-mail:; Website:
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