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NCJ Number: 155630 Find in a Library
Title: Cognitive Correlates of Reported Sexual Abuse in Eating- Disordered Women
Journal: Journal of Interpersonal Violence  Volume:10  Issue:2  Dated:(June 1995)  Pages:176-187
Author(s): G Waller; A Ruddock; S Cureton
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 12
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study investigated cognitive processes in eating- disordered women who reported a history of sexual abuse and examined the interrelationships between those processes to determine whether they reflect similar cognitive constructs.
Abstract: Subjects were 50 women who met authoritative diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa (20 women) or bulimia nervosa (30 women). Of the 50 eating-disordered women, 34 reported some form of unwanted sexual experience. Two possible cognitive consequences of sexual abuse were examined. First, Jehu's (1988) Belief Inventory was used; this is a self-report questionnaire that allows respondents to describe how strongly they hold each of 26 self-denigratory beliefs about the causes and consequences of unwanted sexual experiences. Second, an adaptation of the Stroop task (1935) was used; the Stroop task is a commonly used psychological paradigm used in both clinical and experimental settings. Findings show that eating-disordered women who reported sexual abuse had a distinctive cognitive style. They had a general attentional bias toward information that is relevant to such abuse, and that attentional bias was associated with specific self-denigratory beliefs as a result of the abuse, even though the women's Belief Inventory scores were lower than those reported by women referred as a direct result of sexual abuse. The attentional bias was linked to two of the categories of victims' beliefs. First, it was associated with all three items that reflect a belief that one has been "contaminated" by their experience. Second, there were correlations with three of the seven items that composed the construct of poor general and sexual self-esteem. In contrast, there were no correlations with any of the beliefs about the offender's motivation, self-blame for the specific abusive experience, or perceived threat from other people and relationships. Neither of these two measures can confirm the accuracy of reports of abuse. 2 tables and 36 references
Main Term(s): Sexual assault victims
Index Term(s): Adult survivors of child sexual abuse; Child Sexual Abuse; Emotional disorders; Psychological victimization effects
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