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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2006 Apr;74(2):237-42.

Clinical characteristics of adults reporting repressed, recovered, or continuous memories of childhood sexual abuse.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. rjm@wjh.harvard.edu

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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