School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)


John Thomas


God-image, Emotional Neglect, Romantic Relationships, Counseling, Pastoral Counseling


Counseling | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Childhood emotional neglect often leads to relationship dissatisfaction, psychopathology, decline in physical health, and permanent scars from a lack of emotional validation. Women who have grown up with a history of emotional invalidation are at risk for suicide, divorce, emotional instability, unstable relationships, and a chronic belief that they are not enough. Lacking emotional attachment from parents and other primary figures, girls and young women may transition into adulthood either anxiously attached, avoidant attached, or both. This state of dysphoria may extend into their perceptions of God and other authority figures. Counselors and other professional helpers such as clergy, teachers, and social service workers are uniquely positioned to offer critical resources beginning in early childhood that extend into adulthood. This study aims to assess the effects of childhood emotional neglect on adult romantic partner relationships by examining how women view God and their romantic partners. A parallel multiple mediation model examined multiple pathways of influence between emotional neglect and romantic relationship satisfaction. Although there were key findings from the study, particularly in the relationship between emotional neglect and God-image, the results showed that the three variables were unrelated.