A multi-modal assessment of memory and attention in childhood physical and sexual abuse survivors

2003 2003

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Abstract (summary)

Research continues to explore the cognitive processing of those who develop PTSD after trauma. Studies using modified Stroop paradigms have established that individuals with PTSD demonstrate attentional bias for information related to rape, combat, and sexual abuse traumas. Research on incidental recollections of abuse are burgeoning. This study explored the nature of the relationships between explicit recollection of childhood physical and sexual abuse and (1) attentional bias for trauma-related words and (2) incidental recollection of trauma-related words. Fifty-seven criminal offenders with both major psychiatric and substance abuse diagnoses were administered a modified Stroop using physical abuse words, a validated retrospective report for childhood maltreatment (CTQ), and measures of their psychiatric diagnoses (DIS-IV) and symptoms (PCL-C). Regression analyses demonstrated that the relationship between explicit recall of physical abuse (CTQ) and attentional bias for physical abuse words (Stroop) was moderated by PTSD symptom severity [R2 changed from .031 to. 139; F (1, 40) = 4.997, p = .03]. In participants with higher PTSD symptoms, greater self-reported physical abuse was associated with greater attentional bias for Physical Abuse words; in participants with lower PTSD symptoms, greater self-reported physical abuse was associated with less attentional bias. This hypothesis was not supported for sexual abuse items. A second hypothesis that greater explicit recollection of childhood abuse would correspond to greater accuracy in incidental demonstration of memory for childhood abuse and that this relationship would be stronger for those participants with PTSD was unsupported. This study extends existing research findings on the modified Stroop to physical abuse and suggests that PTSD symptoms intervene in the cognitive processing of trauma-related information.

Indexing (details)

0622: Psychotherapy
Identifier / keyword
Psychology; Attention; Childhood abuse; Memory; Sexual abuse; Survivors
A multi-modal assessment of memory and attention in childhood physical and sexual abuse survivors
Baxt, Chiara
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-B 64/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Bernstein, David P.
Fordham University
University location
United States -- New York
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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