Academic Commons

Theses Doctoral

Anger expression and adaptation to childhood sexual abuse: The role of disclosure context

Gupta, Sumati

Previous research on anger and childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is largely cross-sectional and retrospective. In this study, we prospectively examined the consequences of expressing anger among sexually abused women in contexts of either voluntarily disclosing or not disclosing a previous abuse episode. All CSA survivors in the study had documented histories of CSA. These participants and a matched, nonabused sample were asked to describe their most distressing experience while being videotaped to allow coding of anger expression. Approximately two thirds of the CSA survivors voluntarily disclosed a previous abuse experience. Participants completed measures of internalizing symptoms and externalizing symptoms at the time of disclosure and again two years later. The expression of anger was associated with better long-term adjustment (decreased internalizing and externalizing symptoms) but only among CSA survivors who had expressed anger while not disclosing an abuse experience. For CSA survivors who disclosed an abuse experience, anger expression was unrelated to long-term outcome. These findings suggest that the benefits of anger expression for CSA survivors may be context specific.

Subjects

Files

  • thumnail for Gupta_columbia_0054D_10036.pdf Gupta_columbia_0054D_10036.pdf application/pdf 246 KB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Clinical Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Bonanno, George A.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 1, 2011
Academic Commons provides global access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary. Academic Commons is managed by the Columbia University Libraries.