Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing




Dr. Cheryl Forchuk

Second Advisor

Susan Ray


Several researchers have indicated that child abuse and neglect are related to mental health problems in adulthood. Social support has been found to have a protective influence on the sequelae of these traumatic interpersonal experiences. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between the severity of childhood interpersonal trauma and the severity of mental illness and substance abuse problems in adulthood. This study is guided by the Neuman Systems Model, specifically the impact of stressors, reaction to stressors, and the moderating role of the sociocultural variable in the flexible line of defense. This research takes advantage of a large existing database from the 2005 Community University Research Alliance (CURA) on Housing and Mental Health. The community sample includes 190 participants living in Southwestern Ontario. The quantitative data collected through the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, Personal Resource Questionnaire, and the Colorado Client Assessment Record were analyzed. Descriptive analyses were conducted to describe the sample. Inferential analyses were performed using Pearson’s r correlations and t-tests. Results revealed that the severity of interpersonal trauma experienced in childhood was related to the severity of mental illness and substance abuse problems in adulthood. The moderating role of social support, however, was not supported in this study. It is expected that the study findings will be used as a means to increase knowledge and improve practice regarding the experience of interpersonal trauma in childhood and mental health problems in adulthood.



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