College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Degrees of Memory of Childhood Sexual Abuse among Women Survivors in Therapy

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-1999

Keywords

Sexual Abuse, Memory, Child Abuse, Recovered Memories

Publication Title

Journal of Family Violence

ISSN

0885-7482

Volume

14

Issue/No.

1

Abstract

Past and current memory for childhood sexual abuse reported by a clinical sample of 160 women survivors was assessed utilizing a structured clinical interview. Response alternatives for memory were ordered along a continuum. To minimize treatment effects, participants were interviewed as early in therapy as possible. Fairly complete recollection both in the past and currently was reported by 26.3% of the sample, 36.9% apparently lost and subsequently recovered sexual abuse memories, and 36.9% endorsed intermediate degrees of memory. Only 2.5% indicated a decrease in degree of recollection over time. Age at onset was the only abuse characteristic found to differentiate participants with fairly complete memory from the rest of the sample. Findings are interpreted as illustrating that conclusions about memory for abuse are highly dependent on the way inquiries are conceptualized and worded.

DOI

10.1023/A:1022813925852