Childhood Maltreatment Experiences and Child Abuse Potential: Temperamental Sensitivity as Moderator?

Alexandra Voorthuis, Ritu Bhandari, Dorothée Out, Rixt van der Veen, Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, Marinus H. Van IJzendoorn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study aimed to examine the relationship between negative experiences in childhood (physical-, sexual-, and emotional abuse and emotional neglect) and the risk for an individual to become a perpetrator of child maltreatment in adulthood. Participants were 337 female college students who completed self-report measures of childhood trauma and temperament. Risk for child abuse was assessed with the Child Abuse Potential Inventory. Results showed experiences of emotional neglect significantly predicted higher child abuse potential. Additionally it was shown that experiences of physical abuse significantly predicted higher child abuse potential but only in those individuals with high temperamental orienting sensitivity. These results underline the potentially damaging long-term effects of emotional neglect in childhood and indicate temperamental sensitivity may moderate the relationship between being abused as a child and being at risk for maltreating one’s own offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-756
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • CAPI
  • Child abuse potential
  • Emotional neglect
  • Orienting sensitivity
  • Physical abuse
  • Temperament


Dive into the research topics of 'Childhood Maltreatment Experiences and Child Abuse Potential: Temperamental Sensitivity as Moderator?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this