Self-criticism and romantic relationship satisfaction as serial mediators of links between childhood psychological maltreatment and loneliness

Bırni G., Satıcı S. A., Deniz M. E.

CHILD ABUSE & NEGLECT, vol.139, pp.1-8, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 139
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2023.106112
  • Journal Name: CHILD ABUSE & NEGLECT
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ASSIA, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, PASCAL, Periodicals Index Online, Child Development & Adolescent Studies, CINAHL, Criminal Justice Abstracts, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), EMBASE, Gender Studies Database, MEDLINE, Psycinfo, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Violence & Abuse Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-8
  • Keywords: Psychological maltreatment, Loneliness, Self-criticism, Relationship satisfaction
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Background: Psychological maltreatment may be one of the causes of adults' loneliness despite
having a partner. There are some links between psychological maltreatment, self-criticism,
relationship satisfaction, and loneliness in the literature. But the nature of these links requires
further explanation.
Objective: The present study examined the serial mediation role of self-criticism and romantic
relationship satisfaction on the pathway from childhood psychological maltreatment to loneli-
ness, in a Turkish sample.
Participants and settings: In total 403 individuals (Female = 294, Male = 109) participated from 53
different cities in Türkiye. Participants were either dating (65.8 %), had a fianc ́ee (4 %), or were
married (30.3 %).
Method: The data was collected using Psychological Maltreatment Questionnaire, UCLA Loneli-
ness Scale, Self-criticism Rumination Scale, and the Relationship Assessment Scale.
Results: Structural equation modeling results indicated that self-criticism and romantic relation-
ship satisfaction fully mediated the impact of psychological maltreatment on loneliness. The
model was a good fit [χ2 (29, N = 403) = 63.846, p < .001; χ2/df = 2.20; SRMR = 0.061; RMSEA
= 0.055; GFI = 0.969; CFI = 0.979; NFI = 0.963; IFI = 0.979].
Conclusions: Childhood experiences of psychological maltreatment can continue to haunt in-
dividuals, even as adults. Although being in a relationship can help individuals with their lone-
liness, psychologically maltreated adults may feel lonely in their relationships due to self-criticism
and dissatisfaction. Interventions focused on childhood psychological maltreatment and self-
criticism may help lonely adults. Along with this focus, relationship satisfaction can be
addressed in family/couple counseling.