Relations of sociotropy and autonomy to developmental experiences among psychiatric patients

Tamar Mendelson, Clive J. Robins, Courtney S. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study investigated the relations of self-reported childhood trauma and negative parenting styles to current levels of sociotropy and autonomy in a sample of 77 adult psychiatric inpatients. Controlling for depression symptoms, sociotropy was not significantly related to any of the parenting or trauma variables. Autonomy was related most strongly to emotional abuse and was also related to physical abuse, lack of parental care, and parental overprotection. Regression analyses controlling for depression and several other childhood variables indicated that emotional abuse was significantly related to sociotropy, while emotional abuse and lack of parental care were associated with autonomy. Sexual abuse, witnessing violence, emotional neglect, physical neglect, and loss were not found to be significant predictors of sociotropy or autonomy in these regression analyses. Results suggest that certain developmental experiences, particularly emotional abuse, are associated with sociotropy and autonomy and perhaps may contribute to the formation of these personality styles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • autonomy
  • childhood trauma
  • parenting styles
  • sociotropy
  • vulnerability to depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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