Date of Award


Honors Thesis Number




Faculty Advisor

Dollinger, Stephen


This study examines the influence of abusive/nonsupportive and loving/supportive parental behaviors on college students' self-esteem, hostility, and personality traits. Concerns of psychological maltreatment arise because it can restrict children in achieving their full potential as they approach adulthood (Garrison, 1987). It was hypothesized that those who report more emotional abuse would also exhibit lower self esteem, lower agreeableness, (i.e. greater hostility and interpersonal distrust) and greater neuroticism than their more fortunate peers. The participants involved in this study were 63 undergraduate psychology students attending Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. They volunteered for extra credit in an introductory psychology course or an upper level psychology course. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Inventory (RSE) was used to measure the subjects' self-esteem. The Big Five Inventory (BFl) was used to assess the participants' personality traits. The Exposure to Abusive and Supportive Environments Parenting Inventory (EASE-PI) was used to measure the level of psychological abuse participants were exposed to as children and as young adults. Hypotheses were generally supported for male participants only.