Child maltreatment is linked to difficulties in identifying with social groups as a young adult

Fabio Sani (Lead / Corresponding author), Marina Herrera, Karolina Bielawska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Subjective feelings of disconnectedness from social groups have been found to be detrimental to mental health. However, little is known about the factors determining people’s ability to attach to groups. We contend that child maltreatment will impair people’s ability to group identification across the lifespan, and present a cross-sectional study involving 396 young adults from Spain, aimed at testing this hypothesis. Results reveal that, as expected, a greater degree of maltreatment received before the age of 14 is linked to a lower number of social groups one identifies with, even after controlling for current levels of depression, anxiety, and borderline personality.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology
Early online date29 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Mar 2020



  • child maltreatment
  • group identification
  • sense of belonging
  • social groups
  • social identity

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