Law and Human Behavior

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 621–630 | Cite as

Symptom Overreporting and Recovered Memories of Childhood Sexual Abuse

  • Elke Geraerts
  • Marko Jelicic
  • Harald Merckelbach
Original Article


The authenticity of recovered memories is a much debated issue. Surprisingly, no study has systematically looked at symptom overreporting in people claiming recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). In a first sample we administered the Structured Inventory of Malingered Symptomatology (SIMS) to individuals who said they had recovered CSA memories (n=66), individuals who said their CSA had always been accessible (continuous CSA memory group; n=119), and controls who said they had no CSA experiences (n=83). In a second sample individuals reporting recovered (n=45) or continuous (n=45) CSA memories completed the Morel Emotional Numbing Test (MENT). Our aim was to compare these groups with regard to their tendency to overreport symptoms. The results indicate that people with recovered memories do not score higher on the SIMS and the MENT than other CSA survivors suggesting that symptom overreporting is not typical for people reporting recovered memories.


Symptom overreporting Recovered memories Childhood sexual abuse 



We thank Tim Brennen for comments on a draft of this article.


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Copyright information

© American Psychology-Law Society/Division 41 of the American Psychological Association 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elke Geraerts
    • 1
  • Marko Jelicic
    • 1
  • Harald Merckelbach
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Experimental PsychologyMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Maastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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