Publication Date


Document Type

Student Project

First Advisor

Orcutt, Holly K.

Second Advisor

Travis Cole BA

Degree Name

B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)


Department of Psychology


The cumulative effects of childhood polyvictimization, including incremental increases in experiences of childhood maltreatment (CM) types, such as sexual abuse and emotional neglect are associated with an increase in psychological distress. Personality trait domains as measured by the Personality Inventory of the DSM-5, are independently associated with psychological distress, and are thought to moderate the association between traumatic events and distress. The present study was conducted with a sample of undergraduate students (N = 485) who were administered a battery of questionnaires including the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), Inventory of Depression and Anxiety Symptoms (IDAS-II) and the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 Brief Form (PID-5). We hypothesized that: 1) PID-5 Negative Affectivity (NA), Detachment, Disinhibition, Antagonism, and Psychoticism would be significantly positively correlated with IDAS-II Distress; 2) the positive correlation between polyvictimization and IDAS-II Distress would be significantly stronger than the positive correlation between total scores on the CTQ and IDAS-II Distress, and; 3) the personality trait domains of NA, Detachment, and Psychoticism would moderate the relationship between polyvictimization and IDAS-II Distress. Pearson correlations, Meng’s Z-test, and multiple regressions models were used to test all hypotheses. Results indicated that all five personality trait domains were positively correlated with IDAS-II Distress. Support was not found for the second and third hypotheses. Interestingly, a significant negative interaction effect of polyvictimization with Antagonism on IDAS-II Distress was found when controlling for sex. The significant negative moderation effect suggests that higher levels of Antagonism attenuate the impact of childhood polyvictimization on distress in adulthood. The significance of these findings and their implications for future research will be discussed.

Suggested Citation

Carsten, B. D. (2024). Antagonism attenuates the relationship between childhood polyvictimization and distress in adulthood [Senior honors thesis, Northern Illinois University]. Huskie Commons.