Chronic avoidance helps explain the relationship between severity of childhood sexual abuse and psychological distress in adulthood.

Published

Journal Article

Recent studies have found that chronic avoidance of unpleasant internal experiences (e.g., thoughts, emotions, memories) is a maladaptive means of affect regulation often adopted by women with a history of sexual victimization in childhood. The primary aim of this study was to replicate and extend previous findings suggesting that higher levels of experiential avoidance may account for the relationship between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and psychological distress in adulthood. It was hypothesized that, in a sample of undergraduate females (n = 151), the relationship between severity of CSA (e.g., frequency, nature of victimization) and trauma-related psychological distress would be mediated by avoidance. Results supported this hypothesis. Findings are consistent with previous studies, and further suggest that the general tendency to avoid or escape from unpleasant internal experiences may be a specific factor that exacerbates psychological distress among women with a history of sexual victimization in childhood.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rosenthal, MZ; Rasmussen Hall, ML; Palm, KM; Batten, SV; Follette, V

Published Date

  • 2005

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 14 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 25 - 41

PubMed ID

  • 16354647

Pubmed Central ID

  • 16354647

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1053-8712

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1300/J070v14n04_02

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States