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Research Proposal
Heejin Kwon
Independent Research 1
2016-17

Research Title The Cause and the Outcome of the Effects of the Complex Childhood Trauma
(Avoidant behavior, Distrust in their emotion, Depression, and Relationship Problems): the
Negative Self-Concept

Project Overview
This research will address the effects of the childhood trauma on the teen victims
psychologically, specifically on the complex childhood trauma. The interviews with the experts
will be conducted to identify the causal effects and the relationships among the avoidant
behavior, distrust in their emotion, depression, relationship problems, and the negative self-
concept, which are the effects of the complex childhood trauma. The project will recognize
another important factor, self-concept to prevent the development of the domino effect of the
complex childhood trauma.

Background and History of the Issue


The childhood trauma is the common issue in the society. A complex childhood trauma is
a trauma that describes an exposure of multiple traumatic events in the childhood. The complex
trauma signifies the sequential consequences on child that can be emotional abuse, neglect,
sexual abuse, physical abuse, and witnessing domestic violence. It affects the development of
attachment, human functions, regulatory systems, social ability, behavioral regulation, cognition,
and the self-concept. The effects of the trauma do not stop here; under the domino effect, the
consequences of the childhood trauma cause other problems, such as avoidant behavior, distrust
in their emotion, depression, and relationship problems.
The complex childhood trauma is a type of childhood trauma that has more than one type
of trauma. Complex childhood trauma is a cause of various problems. However, these effects are
related to each other. Each consequences of the childhood trauma may differ, but the causes are
related to self-concept.

Problem Statement and Rationale


Currently, the effects of the childhood trauma, such as depression and low self-esteem are
common around the world. Not only disturbing the others, it is the concern we suffer in school
nowadays too. The complex childhood trauma can affect anywhere. It can influence individuals
ability and development, and it can also lead to numerous problems. It is important to find out
the cause, and to prevent and resolve for the society and for the children.

Research Methodology
Research Question and Hypothesis
Is negative self-concept the major concern / initial point of the
avoidant behavior, distrust in their emotion, depression, and relationship
problems?
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Complex childhood trauma creates negative self-concept which


leads to an avoidant behavior, distrust in their emotion, depression, and
relationship problems.

Basis of Hypothesis
One of the consequences of the complex childhood trauma is the negative self-concept.
The negative self-concept causes the loss of the positive sense of self identity. The victims of the
complex childhood trauma blame themselves for the traumatic events, creating hatred and denial
against themselves. With this sense of self, victims encounters the inability to accomplish
objectives, feeling stress as another outcome. From defining own trauma as their fault, it would
resist themselves to build connections, and lead them to feel hopelessness and fear against the
others. Therefore, the loss of the confidence in self will cause avoidant behavior, distrust in their
emotion, depression, and relationship problems.

Research Design
The study will be a causal-comparative research. The interviews will be conducted with
five experts on teenagers development and its relationships with complex childhood trauma. The
questions would ask the importance and the definition of the self-concept to the victims of the
complex childhood trauma. Also, the questions would ask the effect of low self-esteem on the
teenagers behavior on self and to others. These interviews will collect qualitative data on
individual victims of the complex childhood trauma to conduct theories on the specific
relationship between the self-concept and the other effects of trauma: the avoidant behavior,
distrust in their emotion, depression, and relationship problems.

Operational Definitions
Avoidant - a personality or behavior where individuals avoid interactions with others.
Depression - A state of feeling hopelessness and dejections for a long period of time.
Trauma - an experience that cause individuals inability to feel safe from the society. It
includes powerful one-time incidents such as natural disasters, crimes, deaths; and
chronic experiences such as abuse, neglect, and the destroyed relationships.
Self-concept - an idea of an individual constructed by oneself
Self-identity - recognition of own qualities

Product Overview
By the end of the year, the research will be organized into the website. The intended
audience will be the teenagers and the teen victims of the childhood trauma who suffer from the
negative self-concept. The website will inform the complex childhood trauma and its effects, and
alert the importance of the self-concept. The product will also present suggestions to help
teenagers to improve their self-concept with some quotes and words that encourage them. There
will be a private area where individuals can leave comments to release their own sufferings. It
would be used whenever the individuals need encouragement or certainty in them.

Logistical Considerations
The major logistical concerns will involve finding the interviewees who will provide new
information and possible paths for in-depth studies. In order to develop a reliable research
project, distinct interviews with the diverse interviewees are required. It will be challenging to
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encounter different interviewees who are willing to contribute to the project with new
information. This requires vast amount of time and possibly transportation. Throughout the
project, it is necessary to find helpful sources that would provide appropriate interviewees.
Additionally, the detailed analysis of the interview would help organizing significant data for the
high quality product of the project.