The influence of childhood abuse, adult life events, and affective temperaments on the well-being of the general, nonclinical adult population.

Background: Previous studies have shown the effects of childhood abuse, life events, and temperaments on well-being (positive affect) and ill-being (negative affect). We hypothesized that childhood abuse, affective temperaments, and adult life events interact with one another and influence positive and negative affects in the general adult population and tested this hypothesis using structural equation modeling.
Methods: A total of 415 participants from the general, nonclinical adult population were studied using the following self-administered questionnaires: the Subjective Well-Being Inventory (SUBI); Life Experiences Survey (LES); Temperament Evaluation of the Memphis, Pisa, Paris, and San Diego Auto-questionnaire (TEMPS-A); and the Child Abuse and Trauma Scale (CATS). The data were analyzed with single and multiple regression analyses and structural equation modeling (Mplus).
Results: Childhood abuse indirectly predicted the worsening of positive and negative affects through cyclothymic, anxious, and irritable temperaments as measured by the TEMPS-A in the structural equation model. The cyclothymic, anxious, and irritable temperaments directly worsened the positive and negative affects and the negative appraisal of life events that occurred during the past year, while the hyperthymic temperament had the opposite effects.
Limitations: The subjects of this study were nonclinical volunteers. The findings might not be generalizable to psychiatric patients.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated that childhood abuse, particularly neglect, indirectly worsened the well-being of individuals through cyclothymic, anxious, and irritable affective temperaments. An important “mediator” role of affective temperaments in the effect of childhood abuse on well-being was suggested.