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NCJ Number: 201292 Find in a Library
Title: Memory and Dimensions of Trauma: Terror May be "All-Too-Well Remembered" and Betrayal Buried (From Critical Issues in Child Sexual Abuse: Historical, Legal, and Psychological Perspectives, P 139-173, 2002, Jon R. Conte, ed. -- See NCJ-201288)
Author(s): Jennifer J. Freyd
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 35
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter outlines the key components of betrayal trauma theory as it applies to child sexual abuse.
Abstract: Betrayal trauma theory posits that it is adaptive to forget certain types of betrayal and that this forgetting is consistent with the mechanisms underlying cognitive psychological functioning. The author argues that people often forget about childhood abuse perpetrated by a caregiver because this type of forgetting is necessary for survival. Through an examination of cognitive architecture and development pressures, it becomes reasonable to assume that there is a cognitive information blockage brought on by traumatic events, such as sexual abuse by a parent. The author outlines the controversy surrounding cases in which childhood sexual abuse is alleged years after it has occurred. Both false and true memories are possible, the author contends, so it is crucial not to automatically assume that recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse are false. The scientific data regarding the suppression of abuse memories are reviewed to offer support for betrayal trauma theory. After establishing why abuse is often forgotten, the author turns to a discussion of how abuse is forgotten. This discussion includes examinations of a number of concepts from cognitive science, such as parallel processing, selective attention and memory, different types of memory and mental codes, and shareability theory. In conclusion, the author asserts that betrayal trauma theory offers testable predictions about when forgetting abuse is most likely and it provides a logic to the claims of amnesia regarding childhood sexual abuse. References
Main Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse
Index Term(s): Child victims; Psychology; Theory
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