Espousing an Action Theory approach (Brandstadter, 1998; Lerner, 1982), the authors hypothesized that socially disruptive behaviors committed by people with severe mental illness will be at least partly influenced by incidents of childhood sexual and physical abuse. They further hypothesized that this effect of child abuse on disruptive behaviors in severe mental illness will be mediated by patients' suspiciousness and hostility. Structural equation modeling analyses conducted on data collected from 109 people with severe mental illness provided support for this mediating model. Our results encourage further exploration of the role of childhood maltreatment in the adaptation of people with severe mental illness.
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