Childhood interpersonal trauma appears to impact what are described as self-capacities (e.g., Briere & Runtz, 2002). Self-capacities are thought to develop in the context of positive parent-child attachment experiences and refer to the extent to which an individual is able to accomplish 3 tasks: (1) maintain a sense of personal identity and self-awareness across various experiences; (2) tolerate and control strong negative emotions without resorting to avoidance, sometimes referred to as affect regulation; and (3) develop and maintain meaningful relationships with others that are not disturbed by dysfunctional behavior or excessive preoccupation with interpersonal danger, rejection, or abandonment. Self-capacities could explain in part the links between trauma and psycho-sexo-relational difficulties, and be a key target for efficient intervention strategies.

For more information, see:

Bigras, N., Godbout, N., & Briere, J. (2015). Child sexual abuse, sexual anxiety, and sexual satisfaction: The role of self-capacitiesJournal of Child Sexual Abuse: Research, Treatment, & Program Innovations for Victims, Survivors, & Offenders, 24(5), 464-483. doi: 10.1080/10538712.2015.104218

Briere, J., Hodges, M., & Godbout, N. (2010). Traumatic stress, affect dysregulation, and dysfunctional avoidance: A structural equation model. Journal of traumatic Stress, 23, 767-774.