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Title: Autobiographical memory and dissociation in women with a history of child sexual abuse
Author: Veldman, Michele
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2001
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This article presents an overview of the literature on autobiographic memory style and dissociation traits in adults, in the context of childhood sexual abuse. The cognitive research which report on the quality of autobiographical memory in emotionally vulnerable groups is looked at. This is also reviewed with reference to the influences of childhood trauma factors on the development of autobiographical memory style. Dissociation - a common information processing problem following trauma - is reviewed as a concept, with specific attention to dissociation tendencies in adulthood following childhood sexual abuse. The autobiographical memory studies conclude that over-general memory retrieval style is common in people with emotional problems and is independent from mood status. There are suggestions in the literature that this 'intermediate' style of memory recall develops from an early age as a function of controlling affect. One study found an association between childhood trauma and overgeneral memory retrieval in adulthood; there seems to be a further need to look at this relationship. Dissociation has been strongly linked to childhood trauma. Although there are different opinions about the development and definitions of dissociation, it seems to be generally understood as a protective mechanism learned in the face of overwhelming early experiences. Both over-general autobiographical memory style and dissociation traits could be understood as mechanisms of information processing that are utilised to manage difficult emotions. There are some early indications that they may be associated. Further research is required to investigate this relationship.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available