Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Educational Leadership EdD

First Advisor

James A. Tucker

Second Advisor

Elsie P. Jackson

Third Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Abstract

Problem. Identifying the possibility of a significant relationship between childhood sexual abuse, symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and episodes of dissociative amnesia is both relevant and useful in the therapeutic setting. Identifying indicative factors for a history of childhood sexual abuse and including them in a standardized therapeutic assessment will assist therapists in planning future treatment. This study used secondary data to examine the relationship between childhood sexual abuse, symptomology of PTSD, episodes of dissociative amnesia, and selected demographic characteristics.

Method. This quantitative study used a therapist-completed data collection tool which compiled brief client demographics, episodes of dissociative amnesia, symptomology indicative of PTSD, reported childhood sexual abuse, and a data specifier available on the client's risk assessment form. Results were compiled through the use of logistic regression, utilizing a convenience sample of 350 adults previously referred to Bethany Christian Services by the State of Michigan Child Protective Services (N=149; response rate, 43%).

Results. A binary logistic regression analysis was conducted to examine the relationship between childhood sexual abuse, symptomology of PTSD, episodes of dissociative amnesia, and selected demographic characteristics. Findings indicated that women are more likely than men to have experienced childhood sexual abuse (p

Conclusions. The data interpretation suggests that there are certain PTSD symptoms that predict childhood sexual abuse. Subjects who were sexually abused are more likely to have experienced traumatic events, more likely to avoid activities, places, or people who remind them of these traumatic events, more likely to feel detached or estranged from other people, and more likely to exhibit irritability and outbursts of anger. The data additionally suggest that certain PTSD symptoms predict dissociative amnesia. Subjects who experienced episodes of dissociative amnesia are more likely to have experienced traumatic events, more likely to experience recurrent distressing dreams, more likely to exhibit irritability and/or outbursts of anger, and more likely to have difficulty concentrating. The results of research indicate a need for clinicians to be trauma-informed in providing services to individuals. Recommendations include addition of standardized trauma screening tools such as the PC-PTSD to therapist intake assessments, as well as further study.

Subject Area

Child sexual abuse, Amnesia, Post-traumatic stress disorder

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