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NCJ Number: 164184 Find in a Library
Title: Evidence for "Repression": An Examination of Holmes (1990) and the Implications for the Recovered Memory Controversy
Journal: Journal of Child Sexual Abuse  Volume:5  Issue:1  Dated:(1996)  Pages:1-19
Author(s): D H Gleaves
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 19
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A literature review by Holmes (1990) has been often cited as evidence against recovered memories of child sexual abuse; this article examines the specifics of Holmes' review and its implications for the recovered memory controversy.
Abstract: Holmes presented a somewhat skeptical review of the laboratory research on the defense mechanism of repression, whereby conscious memory of a traumatic event is pushed from consciousness because of its emotionally painful impact on the psyche. His conclusions generally differ from those of the investigators who conducted the research, as well as other reviewers. He argues that mechanisms other than repression best explain the results of the laboratory studies he reviewed. Because of Holmes' focus, which did not address traumatic amnesia or the ability to recover accurate memories of trauma, his conclusions are not directly relevant to the current recovered- memory controversy. A wealth of clinical and experimental data do support the concept of extensive traumatic amnesia and the subsequent recovery of accurate memories. This is not to imply that such recovered memories are always accurate or that more research on this topic is not needed; however, the often repeated statement that there is no scientific support for "repressed" memories should be viewed as based on one review article that is cited out of context, while ignoring decades of relevant data that have yielded a different conclusion. 56 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Adult survivors of child sexual abuse; Child Sexual Abuse; Post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD); Psychological victimization effects
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