This investigation focuses on adolescents' recollections of childhood exposure to aversive events and the extent to which such recollections are related to variables from the traditional memory literature. Participants (n = 153) were questioned about mother-directed abuse, child-directed abuse and punishment, and nonabusive events documented 6 years earlier. The teens forgot many details of family aggression, particularly when their mothers were the victims. Thirty-four per cent of those exposed to spousal violence failed to remember or report it, and 20% forgot or failed to report child abuse or punishment. Few participants exposed to escalated violence remembered and reported it, although almost all reported less severe aggression. Remembering was positively related to other measures of nontraumatic autobiographical memory, age, negative attitudes about the abuser, and recent exposure to family aggression. The results suggest that recollections of childhood abuse can be explained in part by variables that apply to a wide range of memory tasks.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)