Study Finds Threats of Death Connected to Repression for Childhood Sexual Abuse

This study examined delayed recall of childhood sexual abuse in a stratified random sample of the general population (N = 505). Of participants who reported a history of sexual abuse, 42% described some period of time when they had less memory of the abuse than they did at the time of data collection.

No demographic differences were found between subjects with continuous recall and those who reported delayed recall. However, delayed recall was associated with the use of threats at the time of the abuse.

Subjects who had recently recalled aspects of their abuse reported particularly high levels of posttraumatic symptomatology and self difficulties (as measured by the IES, SCL, and TSI) at the time of data collection compared to other subjects.


Posttraumatic Stress Associated with Delayed Recall of Sexual Abuse: A General Population Study
Diana M. Elliott and John Briere Journal of Traumatic Stress
Volume 8, Number 4 October 1995 Special Issue: Research on Traumatic Memory Guest Co-Editor: Jessica Wolfe
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2 Responses to Study Finds Threats of Death Connected to Repression for Childhood Sexual Abuse

  1. mglvsjc says:

    It must be true….51 years later I still have very few memories and have no clue how I will handle them when they come back. Dissociation and threats of death have hidden the memories
    so deeply….hard to heal with toxic secrets superglued into the subconscious.

    • Alethea says:


      It has been my experience that the SC mind does not release those memories until the person is ready to handle them.

      “Superglued into the subconscious” is a GREAT description.

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