Are Childhood Maltreatment Narratives Incoherent? A Different Story

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There is ongoing debate on whether adults’ narratives of trauma memories are similarly or less coherent than those of non-trauma memories. For child maltreatment, relevant studies have focused on child/adolescent narratives rather than adult narratives of sexual abuse and found that these narratives were less coherent than non-abuse narratives. This study examined and compared the coherence level of maltreatment versus positive event narratives in 204 adults (Mage = 25.52, SD = 8.50, 77.9% identified as female 66.7% identified as Caucasian). Results showed that adults’ narratives of their child maltreatment were similarly or more coherent than that of non-trauma, positive events (Cohen’s d = .16-.50). The length of narratives was related to coherence level. This study added to the literature by contrasting the coherence level of child maltreatment versus non-trauma narratives in adults, an area of limited study. Results suggested a resilient sample who can narrate their maltreatment events coherently.

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Source: Online Library, Wiley

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