Extensive evidence suggests that exposure to childhood abuse can lead to harmful health effects across a lifetime. To contribute to the literature, the current study examined whether and how a history of parental childhood abuse affects exposure to and severity appraisal of daily stressors in adulthood, as well as emotional reactivity to these stressors. We analyzed 14,912 daily interviews of 2,022 respondents from the second wave of the National Study of Daily Experiences. Multilevel modeling was utilized to analyze nested data, in that each person provided repeated measures of daily experience for eight consecutive study days. Results showed that more frequent experience of maternal childhood abuse was associated with more severe appraisal of daily stressors. In addition, adults with more frequent maternal childhood abuse exhibited greater emotional reactivity to daily stressors. The current study provides evidence that a history of parental childhood abuse may serve as a vulnerability factor in the process of experiencing and responding to stressful events encountered in daily life. Future research should further explore the long-term health effects of daily stress and emotional experience among adults with a history of parental childhood abuse. Interventions for these adults should focus on promoting emotional resilience in the face of daily stress.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Applied Psychology