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Psychol Trauma. 2017 Mar;9(2):181-188. doi: 10.1037/tra0000163. Epub 2016 Jun 23.

Changes in the sexual self-schema of women with a history of childhood sexual abuse following expressive writing treatment.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Sexual self-schemas are cognitive generalizations about the sexual self that influence the processing of sexually pertinent information and guide sexual behavior. Until recently sexual self-schemas were exclusively assessed with self-report instruments. Recent research using the meaning extraction method, an inductive method of topic modeling, identified 7 unique themes of sexual self-schemas: family and development, virginity, abuse, relationship, sexual activity, attraction, and existentialism from essays of 239 women (Stanton, Boyd, Pulverman, & Meston, 2015). In the current study, these themes were used to examine changes in theme prominence after an expressive writing treatment.

METHOD:

Women (n = 138) with a history of childhood sexual abuse completed a 5-session expressive writing treatment, and essays on sexual self-schemas written at pretreatment and posttreatment were examined for changes in themes.

RESULTS:

Women showed a reduction in the prominence of the abuse, family and development, virginity, and attraction themes, and an increase in the existentialism theme.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study supports the validity of the 7 themes identified by Stanton and colleagues (2015) and suggests that expressive writing may aid women with a history of sexual abuse to process their abuse history such that it becomes a less salient aspect of their sexual self-schemas. (PsycINFO Database Record

PMID:
27336216
PMCID:
PMC5182200
DOI:
10.1037/tra0000163
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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