Clinical characteristics of adults reporting repressed, recovered, or continuous memories of childhood sexual abuse.
ABSTRACT The authors assessed women and men who either reported continuous memories of their childhood sexual abuse (CSA, n = 92), reported recovering memories of CSA (n = 38), reported believing they harbored repressed memories of CSA (n = 42), or reported never having been sexually abused (n = 36). Men and women were indistinguishable on all clinical and psychometric measures. The 3 groups that reported abuse scored similarly on measures of anxiety, depression, dissociation, and absorption. These groups also scored higher than the control group. Inconsistent with betrayal trauma theory, recovered memory participants were not more likely to report abuse by a parent or stepparent than were continuous memory participants. Rates of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder did not differ between the continuous and recovered memory groups.
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ABSTRACT: Research has suggested fundamental differences between patients with persistent and those with remitting courses of depression. This study investigated whether patients with different lifetime symptom course configurations differ in early risk and cognitive vulnerability factors. Patients with at least three previous episodes who were currently in remission were categorized based on visual timelines of their lifetime symptom course and compared with regard to a number of different indicators of vulnerability including questionnaire measures of childhood trauma and experiential avoidance. Of the N=127 patients, n=47 showed a persistent course of the disorder with unstable remissions and symptoms most of the time, and n=59 showed a course with more stable, lasting remissions. Group comparisons indicated that patients with a more persistent course were significantly more likely to have suffered from childhood emotional abuse, and reported higher levels of experiential avoidance as well as related core beliefs. Experiential avoidance partially mediated the effect of childhood emotional abuse on persistence of symptoms. The study is cross-sectional and does not allow conclusions with regard to whether differentiating variables are causally related to chronicity. Self-report measures may be subject to reporting biases. The results highlight the detrimental effects of childhood adversity and suggest that experiential avoidance may play an important role in mediating such effects.Journal of Affective Disorders 09/2013; · 3.76 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Dalenberg et al. (2012) argued that convincing evidence (a) supports the longstanding trauma model (TM), which posits that early trauma plays a key role in the genesis of dissociation; and (b) refutes the fantasy model (FM), which posits that fantasy proneness, suggestibility, cognitive failures, and other variables foster dissociation. We review evidence bearing on Dalenberg et al.'s 8 predictions and find them largely wanting in empirical support. We contend that the authors repeat errors committed by many previous proponents of the TM, such as attributing a central etiological role to trauma in the absence of sufficient evidence. Specifically, Dalenberg et al. leap too quickly from correlational data to causal conclusions, do not adequately consider the lack of corroboration of abuse in many studies, and underestimate the relation between dissociation and false memories. Nevertheless, we identify points of agreement between the TM and FM regarding potential moderators and mediators of dissociative symptoms (e.g., family environment, biological vulnerabilities) and the hypothesis that dissociative identity disorder is a disorder of self-understanding. We acknowledge that trauma may play a causal role in dissociation but that this role is less central and specific than Dalenberg et al. contend. Finally, although a key assumption of the TM is dissociative amnesia, the notion that people can encode traumatic experiences without being able to recall them lacks strong empirical support. Accordingly, we conclude that the field should now abandon the simple trauma-dissociation model and embrace multifactorial models that accommodate the diversity of causes of dissociation and dissociative disorders. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).Psychological Bulletin 05/2014; 140(3):896-910. · 15.58 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We respond to Lynn et al.'s (2014) comments on our review (Dalenberg et al., 2012) demonstrating the superiority of the trauma model (TM) over the fantasy model (FM) in explaining the trauma-dissociation relationship. Lynn et al. conceded that our meta-analytic results support the TM hypothesis that trauma exposure is a causal risk factor for the development of dissociation. Although Lynn et al. suggested that our meta-analyses were selective, we respond that each omitted study failed to meet inclusion criteria; our meta-analyses thus reflect a balanced view of the predominant trauma-dissociation findings. In contrast, Lynn et al. were hypercritical of studies that supported the TM while ignoring methodological problems in studies presented as supportive of the FM. We clarify Lynn et al.'s misunderstandings of the TM and demonstrate consistent superiority in prediction of time course of dissociative symptoms, response to psychotherapy of dissociative patients, and pattern of relationships of trauma to dissociation. We defend our decision not to include studies using the Dissociative Experiences Scale-Comparison, a rarely used revision of the Dissociative Experiences Scale that shares less than 10% of the variance with the original scale. We highlight several areas of agreement: (a) Trauma plays a complex role in dissociation, involving indirect and direct paths; (b) dissociation-suggestibility relationships are small; and (c) controls and measurement issues should be addressed in future suggestibility and dissociation research. Considering the lack of evidence that dissociative individuals simply fantasize trauma, future researchers should examine more complex models of trauma and valid measures of dissociation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).Psychological Bulletin 05/2014; 140(3):911-20. · 15.58 Impact Factor