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Psychophysiological influences on personality trajectories in adolescent females exposed to child maltreatment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 November 2019

Raha Hassan
Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Harriet L. MacMillan
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Masako Tanaka
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada,
Louis A. Schmidt
Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
E-mail address:


Although child maltreatment is a major public health concern, which adversely affects psychological and physical development, we know relatively little concerning psychophysiological and personality factors that may modify risk in children exposed to maltreatment. Using a three-wave, short-term prospective design, we examined the influence of individual differences in two disparate psychophysiological measures of risk (i.e., resting frontal brain electrical activity and respiratory sinus arrhythmia) on the trajectories of extraversion and neuroticism in a sample of female adolescents (N = 55; M age = 14.02 years) exposed to child maltreatment. Adolescents exposed to child maltreatment with relatively higher left frontal absolute alpha power (i.e., lower brain activity) at rest exhibited increasing trajectories of extraversion, and adolescents exposed to child maltreatment with relatively lower respiratory sinus arrhythmia at rest displayed increasing trajectories of neuroticism over 1 year. Individual differences in psychophysiological measures indexing resting central and peripheral nervous system activity may therefore differentially influence personality characteristics in adolescent females exposed to child maltreatment.

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Psychophysiological influences on personality trajectories in adolescent females exposed to child maltreatment
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Psychophysiological influences on personality trajectories in adolescent females exposed to child maltreatment
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Psychophysiological influences on personality trajectories in adolescent females exposed to child maltreatment
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