The effects of sexual assault-related intrusion suppression in the laboratory and natural environment.
Individuals with a history of sexual victimization often experience enduring intrusive thoughts associated with their assault history. Research suggests that the characteristic ways in which sexually assaulted individuals respond to aversive internal experiences (i.e., thoughts, emotions, etc.) can influence the psychological distress associated with these intrusions. This study investigated the effects of suppressing sexual assault-related intrusions in a sample of 61 female college students with a history of adolescent or adult sexual assault and recent assault-related intrusions. Participants were randomly assigned to suppress or monitor intrusions during a laboratory task and for 48 h outside the laboratory. In contrast to study hypotheses, findings indicated that intrusion monitoring was associated with higher subjective distress than suppression both in the laboratory and in the natural environment. No differences were found for the frequency of intrusions between groups in the laboratory. However, modest evidence for a rebound effect in intrusion frequency was found outside the laboratory.
Rosenthal, MZ; Follette, VM
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