Journal of Traumatic Stress

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 629-647

First online:

Posttraumatic stress associated with delayed recall of sexual abuse: A general population study

  • Diana M. ElliottAffiliated withChild Abuse Crisis Center, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
  • , John BriereAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences, University of Southern California School of Medicine

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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.

Key words

sexual abuse amnesia delayed recall memory