Memory Repression in Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

  • Debra Rose Wilson

Abstract

Introduction
The terrible reality of childhood sexual abuse cannot be forgotten in the debates over the validity and processes of traumatic memory. Sexual abuse profoundly influences the whole being of the victim.
Aim
The purpose of this paper is to explore processes and outcomes of not remembering childhood sexual abuse.
Conclusion
It is relevant to holistic nursing, how childhood sexual abuse and the victim’s coping processes affect long-term biopsychosocial health. Recovered memories are part of the healing process. “Putting away” traumatic childhood
memories of sexual abuse, whether voluntarily or unconsciously, has a logical purpose that can be seen from classic psychoanalytic, cognitive, and holistic theories.

References

Abrahamson, V. (1998). Do occupational therapists feel equipped to deal with the adult legacy of childhood sexual abuse? British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61(2), 63-67.

Alexander, R. W., Bradley, L. A., Alarcon, G. S., Triana-Alexander, M., Aeron, L. A., Martin, M. Y., & Stewart, K. E. (1998). Sexual and physical abuse in women with fibromyalgia: Association with outpatient health care utilization and pain medication usage. Arthritis Care Resources, 11(2), 102-115

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Therapies Focused on Memories of Childhood Physical and Sexual Abuse. American Psychiatric and APA joint position Statement. Retrieved November 9, 2006, from http://www.psych.org/edu/other_res/lib_archives/ archives/200002.pdf

American Psychological Association. (1998). Final report of the American Psychological Association working group on investigation of memories of childhood sexual abuse. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 4, 579-726.

American Psychological Association. (2003). Questions and answers about memories of childhood abuse. Retrieved November 10, 2006, from http://www.apa.org/pubinfo/mem.html

Anderson, M. C. & Green, C. (2001). Suppressing unwanted memories by executive control. Nature, 410, 366-369.

Bolen, R. M. (2001). Child Sexual Abuse: Its Scope and Our Failure. New York: Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers.

Bratton, M. (1999). From Surviving to Thriving: A Therapist's Guide to State II recovery for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Binhamton, NY: Hawarth Press Inc.

Bridgeland, W. M., Duane, E. D., & Stewart, C. S. (2001). Victimization and attempted suicide among college students. College Student Journal, 35(1), 63-77.

Briere, J. (1996). A self-trauma model for treating adult survivors of severe child abuse. In J. Briere, L. Berliner, J. Bulkley, C. Jenny, & T. Reid (Eds.). The APSAC Handbook on Child Maltreatment (pp. 140-157). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Briere, J. & Runtz, M. (1988). Symptomology associated with childhood sexual victimization in a non-clinical adult sample. Child Abuse and Neglect, 12, 51-59.

Butler, L. D. & Spiegal, D. (1997). Trauma and Memory. In L. J. Dickstein, M. B. Reba, & J. M. Oldham (Eds.), Repressed Memories, 2 (13- 53), Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press, Inc.

Cloitre, M., Cancienne, J., Brodsky, B., Dulit, R., & Perry, S. W. (1996). Memory performance among women with parental abuse histories: Enhanced directed forgetting or directed remembering? Journal of Abnormal Psychology,105(2). 204-

Cornman, B. J. (1997). Female adolescent response to childhood sexual abuse. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 10(2), 17-25.

Creedy, D., Nizette, D, & Henderson, K. (1998). A framework for practice with women survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Australian New Zealand Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 7(2), 67-73.

Ferry, B., Roozendaal, B., & McGaugh, J. L. (1999). Role of norepinephrine in mediating stress hormone regulation of long-term memory storage: A critical involvement of the amygdala. Biological Psychiatry, 46(9). 1140-1152.

Fredrickson, R. (1992). Repressed Memories: A Journey to Recovery from Sexual Abuse. New York:Simon & Schuster Inc.

Freshwater, K., Leach, C., & Aldridge, J. (2001). Personal constructs, childhood sexual abuse and revictimization. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 74, 379-397.

Freud, S. (1915). Repression. In P. Rieff (Ed.), General Psychological Theory. (1968). New York: Touchstone.

Freyd, J. J. (1997). Betrayal Trauma: The Logic of Forgetting Childhood Sexual Abuse. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Gay, P. (1989). The Freud Reader. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Gregory, R. L. (Ed.). (1998). The Oxford Companion to the Mind. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Hall, C. S. (1954). A Primer of Freudian Psychology. New York: Penguin.

Hall, J. M. (1999). Lesbians in alcohol recovery surviving childhood sexual abuse and parental substance misuse. International Journal of Psychiatric Nursing Research, 5(1), 507-515.

Hall, J. M. (2000). Core issues for female child abuse survivors in recovery from substance misuse. Qualitative Health Research, 10(5), 612-631.

Heitkemper, M., Jarret, M., Taylor, P., Walker, E., Landerburger, K., & Bond, E. F. (2001). Effects of sexual and physical abuse on symptom experiences in women with irritable bowel syndrome. Nursing Research, 50(1), 15-23.

Herman, J. (1997). Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From domestic abuse to political terror. New York: Basic Books.

Hopper, J. (1998). Child abuse: Statistics, research, and resources. Retrieved November 10, 2006, from http://www.jimhopper.com/abstats/

James, R. K., & Gilliland, B. E. (2003). Counseling

and Psychotherapy, (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allen and Bacon.

Jehu, D. (1988). Beyond Sexual Abuse. Chichester, U.K.: Wiley.

Johnson, D. M., Pike, J. L., & Chard, K. M. (2001).

Factors predicting PTSD, depression, and dissociative severity in female treatment-seeking childhood sexual abuse survivors. Child Abuse and Neglect, 25, 179-198.

Kim, J. J., Lee, H. J., Han, J. S., & Packard, M. G. (2001). Amygdala is critical for stress-induced modulation of hippocampal long-term potentiation and learning. Journal of

Neuroscience, 21(14), 5222-5228.

Knisely, J. S., Barker, S. B., Ingeroll, K. S., & Dawson, K. S. (2000). Psychopathology in substance abusing women reporting childhood sexual abuse. Journal of Addictive Disorders, 19(1), 31-44.

LeDoux, J. (2003). Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are. New York: Penguin Books.

Loftus, E. F. (1993). The reality of repressed memories. American Psychologist, 48(5), 518-537.

Loftus, E. F. (1994). The repressed memory controversy. American Psychologist, 49(5), 443-445.

Mayer, A. (1995). Repressed Memories of Sexual Abuse. Holmes Beach, FL: Learning Publications, Inc.

Mullen, P. E. & Fleming, J. (1996). Long-term effects of child sexual abuse. National Child Protection Clearinghouse, (9). Retrieved November 9, 2006, from http://www.aifs.org.au/nch/issues9.html

Nichols, W. (1992). Treating Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Press.

Parse, R. R. (1998). The human becoming school of thought: A perspective for nurses and other health professionals. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Pecukonis, E. V. (1996). Childhood sex abuse in women with chronic intractable back pain. Social Work in Health Care, 23(3), 1-16.

Pert, C. B. (1999). Molecules of Emotion: The Science Beyond Mind-Body Medicine. New York: Touchstone.

Plotnik, R. (2002). Introduction to Psychology (6th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Wadsworth

Pope, H. G. (1998). Recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse. Student British Medical Journal, 6, p. 46.

Poston, C. & Lison, K. (1989). Reclaiming Our Lives: Hope for Adult Survivors of Incest. Boston, MA: Little, Brown & Company.

Reber, A. S. & Reber, E. S. (Eds.). (2001). The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology (3rd ed.). New York: Penguin Books.

Roberts, S. J. (1996). The sequelae of childhood sexual abuse: A primary focus for adult female survivors. Nurse Practitioner: American Journal of Primary Health Care, 21(12), 42-50.

Romans, S. E., Gendall, K. A., Martin, J. L., & Mullen, P. E. (2001). Child sexual abuse and later disordered eating: A New Zealand epidemiological study. Eating Disorders, 29, 380-

Schacter, D. L. (2001). Suppression of unwanted memories: Repression revisited? The Lancet, 357, 1724-1725.

Singer, J. A., & Bluck, S. (2001). New perspectives on autobiographical memory: The integration of narrative processing and autobiographical reasoning. Review of General Psychology, 5(2). 91-99.

Steed, J. (1995). Our Little Secret: Confronting Child Sexual Abuse in Canada. Toronto: Random House. World Health

Organization (WHO). (1999). WHO recognizes child abuse as a major public health problem. Information Office Press Release. Retrieved November 10, 2006, from

http:www.who.int/inf-pr-1999/en/pr99-20.html

World Health Organization (WHO). (1997). Fact

Sheet: Child Abuse and Neglect. Retrieved November 10, 2006, from http://www.who.int/inf- fs/en/fact150.html

Zlotnick, C., Mattia, J., & Zimmerman, M. (2001). Clinical features of survivors of sexual abuse with major depression. Child Abuse & Neglect, 25,357-367.

Section
Articles