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J Trauma Stress. 1996 Jul;9(3):483-96.

Authenticity of recovered sexual abuse memories: a Rorschach study.

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  • 1Department of Psychology and Social Sciences, Rush Medical College, Chicago, Illinois 60612-3833, USA.


Distinguishing authentic abuse from false memory among adults who recover memories of childhood sexual trauma has far-reaching significance. This study initially examined 13 previously reported Rorschach signs of sexual abuse in women not abused, and women sexually abused (and not amnestic). The abuse signs were more prevalent in the abused group. A sexual abuse index composed of 8 signs correctly classified 93% of the abused, and 98% of the nonabused group. The index was then applied to women who recovered memories of abuse; some had analogues of dissociation in their protocols and others did not. Those exhibiting dissociative signs produced more signs of sexual abuse. The index classified 88% of the dissociative group as abused, but only 24% of the nondissociative group. The relevance of these findings for assessing authenticity of recovered memories is explored.

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