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: From the mid-1980s onwards, US courts have seen a dramatic increase in personal injury and criminal cases alleging harm caused by sexual abuse whose memories were “recovered” after decades of forgetting. These recovered memory claims were countered by the defense that they were false memories. Three types of personal injury cases have been the center of media attention: (1) adult daughters suing their fathers for alleged childhood incest; (2) families and patients suing psychotherapists for allegedly suggesting false incest memories; and (3) adults suing the Catholic Church alleging sexual abuse by priests. Legal outcomes have been inconsistent in part because scientific controversy has called the reliability of recovered memories into question. This article is the first in a three-part series that provides a forensic framework for understanding the current state of the recovered memory/false memory debate. It briefly describes the reasoning behind inconsistent legal decisions, identifying the minimum scientific issues that must achieve consensus to meet the needs of the legal system. It proposes epistemological criteria for determining whether a consensus has been achieved. It then identifies recovered memory issues about which there is now a consensus. The second article identifies recovered memory issues that lack consensus. The third article argues that the scientific controversy reflected confusion about different memory types. It proposes a phenomenological schema to integrate them and reduce legal confusion. It concludes that there is sufficient consensus about some recovered memory issues to meet minimal legal needs, while more research is needed for others.Psychological Injury and Law 5(1).
- Psychological Injury and Law 5(1).