The long-term psychological effects of maternal versus paternal childhood physical abuse on inpatient chemically addicted men

Claudette Anne Demers-Gendreau (1990)

Few studies have examined the long term psychological effects of childhood physical abuse on adult chemically addicted men and, in particular, between those men who were abused by their mothers versus those who were abused by their fathers. The purpose of this study was to determine what differences may exist in psychological effects between abused and nonabused chemically addicted men and between maternally and paternally abused chemically addicted men. The study sample was comprised of 10 maternally abused, 10 paternally abused and 10 nonabused chemically dependent inpatients from a private chemical dependency treatment facility in New England. Subjects were administered the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI) to assess the psychological differences that may be present between the study groups. Findings indicated that all the chemically dependent men had significant elevations on the Passive Aggressive and Anxiety scales with the abused men having greater elevations on both of these scales as well as on the Dysthymic scale than the nonabused men. In addition, maternally abused men had elevated MCMI scores on the Drug Abuse, Histrionic, Borderline and Narcissistic scales. Paternally abused men had elevated MCMI scores on Alcohol Abuse, Avoidant, Dependent, Schizoid and Schizotypal scales. Nonabused men had elevated MCMI scores on Alcohol Abuse, Drug Abuse, Antisocial, Hypomania and Paranoid scales. These findings suggested that psychological differences do exist in the chemically dependent male population between men abused in childhood and nonabused men as well as between maternally abused and paternally abused men. Traditional chemical dependency treatment tends to be very confrontative. Given the history of these abused patients, such treatment may be counterindicated and, in fact, may be a recapitulation of these victims' tragic childhoods. These findings hopefully will be of importance in the treatment planning for these chemically addicted abused men.