Autobiographical memory specificity in child sexual abuse victims

Christin M. Ogle, Stephanie D. Block, Latonya S. Harris, Gail S. Goodman, Annarheen Pineda, Susan Goff Timmer, Anthony Urquiza, Karen J. Saywitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study examined the specificity of autobiographical memory in adolescents and adults with versus without child sexual abuse (CSA) histories. Eighty-five participants, approximately half of whom per age group had experienced CSA, were tested on the Autobiographical Memory Interview. Individual difference measures, including those for trauma-related psychopathology, were also administered. Findings revealed developmental differences in the relation between autobiographical memory specificity and CSA. Even with depression statistically controlled, reduced memory specificity in CSA victims relative to controls was observed among adolescents but not among adults. A higher number of posttraumatic stress disorder criteria met predicted more specific childhood memories in participants who reported CSA as their most traumatic life event. These findings contribute to the scientific understanding of childhood trauma and autobiographical memory functioning and underscore the importance of considering the role of age and degree of traumatization within the study of autobiographical memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-332
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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    Ogle, C. M., Block, S. D., Harris, L. S., Goodman, G. S., Pineda, A., Timmer, S. G., Urquiza, A., & Saywitz, K. J. (2013). Autobiographical memory specificity in child sexual abuse victims. Development and Psychopathology, 25(2), 321-332. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579412001083