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NCJ Number: 150010 Find in a Library
Title: Acute and Chronic Dissociation and Somatized Anxiety as Related to Childhood Sexual Abuse
Journal: American Journal of Family Therapy  Volume:22  Issue:2  Dated:(Summer 1994)  Pages:165-175
Author(s): L C Maynes; L L Feinauer
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 11
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The study examined whether there is any relationship between four variables in child sexual abuse and survivor symptomatology of acute dissociation, chronic dissociation, and somatized anxiety.
Abstract: Subjects were obtained from a community population in a random sample of the voter registry for Utah. The sample was drawn from zip code areas where there is the greatest ethnic diversity in Utah as identified by census data. A total of 226 subjects were involved in the study (199 women, 22 men, and 5 gender unreported). The average subject was female Caucasian, in a first marriage, not currently a student, 36 years old, educated, and middle-class. Subjects were asked questions that identified their experiences of four variables in child sexual abuse: the relationship of the abuser to the victim, frequency of abuse, duration of abuse, and severity of abuse. Three psychological symptoms were measured: acute dissociation, chronic dissociation, and somatized anxiety. Dissociation is the process whereby persons separate themselves from a particularly traumatic event so as to defend their psyche against painful experiences. Acute dissociation refers to dissociation that occurs at the time of the sexually abusive act. Chronic dissociation refers to behaviors that reflect a daily tendency to dissociate. Somatization has been defined as a distress that arises from perceptions of physical illness or bodily dysfunction, including somatic equivalents of anxiety. Dissociation was measured with the Acute Dissociation Scale and a subscale of the Trauma Symptom Checklist. Descriptors of somatized anxiety were located in a subscale in the Trauma Symptom Checklist. Data from a sample of 226 respondents showed that severity of the sexual abuse was positively correlated with acute and chronic dissociation and somatized anxiety. The other variables were only minimally correlated with dissociation and somatized anxiety. The only exception to this finding was the variable of frequency, which had a slight, positive correlation with the acute dissociation responses. The authors discuss the implications of the findings for clinical treatment and future research. 40 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Adult survivors of child sexual abuse; Child Sexual Abuse; Child victims; Psychological victimization effects
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