Pro recovered memories of childhood abuse can be real
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PRO: Recovered Memories of Childhood Abuse can be REAL. Harvey & Herman (1994) Traumatic recall is continuous, not dichotomous Confabulation hypothesis has flaws: Evidence exists where abuse was confirmed in amnestic cases (Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Porter, 1993)

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PRO: Recovered Memories of Childhood Abuse can be REAL

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Pro recovered memories of childhood abuse can be real

PRO: Recovered Memories of Childhood Abuse can be REAL

  • Harvey & Herman (1994)

    • Traumatic recall is continuous, not dichotomous

    • Confabulation hypothesis has flaws:

      • Evidence exists where abuse was confirmed in amnestic cases (Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Porter, 1993)

    • Both amnesia and hyperamnesia are symptoms diagnostic of PTSD (APA, 1987)

    • 3 vignettes that typify adult remembrance of childhood trauma


Harvey herman 1994

Harvey & Herman (1994)

  • Vignette 1: Continuous Recall, Delayed Understanding

    • Patient never forgets the abuse, but was perhaps not able to recognize what happened as abuse at the time

    • Recent events in life cause her to revisit the memories and try to make sense of them, accompanied by flood of emotions that were hitherto not present or dealt with


Harvey herman 19941

Harvey & Herman (1994)

  • Vignette 2: Partial Amnesia, Delayed Recall, and Delayed Understanding

    • **Most characteristic of survivors of childhood trauma

    • Patient may remember some abuse “fairly well”, but later gains information to indicate that there was more than she remembers

    • accompanied by partial amnesia

    • Triggers for recall: relational events, developmental challenges


Harvey herman 19942

Harvey & Herman (1994)

  • Vignette 3: Profound Amnesia and Delayed Recall

    • **The kind of recall Loftus addresses

    • Amnesia not only for the abuse that occurred, but also for whole eras of development and whole categories of experience\

    • NONE of these clients conformed to Loftus’ generalizations


Harvey herman 19943

Harvey & Herman (1994)

  • Discussion

    • “False” v. “True” memories does not adequately capture the complexity

    • Lifecycle changes and new relational demands may trigger memories

    • Many patients enter psychotherapy to try to make sense of these memories that have recently been recovered- first instance doesn’t happen in psychotherapy at all


Scheflin brown s list of evidence in support of repressed memories

Scheflin & Brown’s list of evidence in support of repressed memories

  • 25+ studies that show partial or full amnesia for abuse

    • Studies use both varying methods & subjects

      • Type of Report: Retrospective self-reports vs. prospective reports

      • Type of subject: Clinical, non-clinical & random


Improvements in research

Improvements in research

  • Original clinical surveys criticized for sample & experimenter bias

  • Non-clinical samples criticized for selection bias

  • Random samples criticized for self-report lacking verification of abuse

  • Prospective studies criticized missing clarification interview (distinguishing memory failure cases from denial)


Scheflin brown table

Scheflin & Brown Table


Scheflin brown more good points

Scheflin & Brown More good points

  • Accuracy of recovered memories (Dalenberg)

  • Clarification Interview debate


Scheflin brown conclusion

Scheflin & Brown Conclusion

  • While studies are criticized for methodological weakness, consider that all 25 studies provide evidence of partial or full amnesia, regardless of methodology or sample

  • Burden of proof


Prospective data linda meyer williams 1993

Prospective data: Linda Meyer-Williams (1993)

  • 129 girls who were taken to the ER for sexual trauma in the 1970’s were contacted 17 years later.

  • Sexual abuse was defined as being:

    A) against the child’s wishes

    B) Involved force or coercion OR

    C) With a perpetrator at least 5 years older.

  • 86% of sample were African-American women.


Methods

Methods

  • 3-hour in person interview, after sufficient rapport developed, women were asked about childhood experiences with sex.

  • Interviewers knew purpose of the study but did not know the personal history of participants.

  • Many participants reported multiple episodes of CSA; independent raters assessed whether participants recalled index abuse.


Results

Results

  • 38% of sample did not recall index abuse or any abuse by the perpetrator of index abuse.

  • Were they just embarrassed to admit it?

  • Other explanations for forgetting?


No recall women

No Recall Women

  • Those abused by people they knew were less likely to recall abuse. The closer the relation the less likely the recall

  • Girls subjected to more forceful attacks were also less likely to remember.


Implications

Implications

  • Not recall of CSA is a fairly common event

  • Not recalling the abuse should not be taken as evidence that abuse did not occur.

  • Not recalling CSA is more than a function of age.APA/APA/ AMA conclusions here


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