Accuracy of Adult Recollections of Early Childhood Abuse

  • Cathy Spatz Widom
  • Christine A. Courtois
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 291)

Abstract

Over the last two decades, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of reports retrospectively linking childhood abuse to a variety of short- and long-term effects. Typically, adolescents or adults are asked about a history of abuse in an interview or on a questionnaire designed to elicit this information retrospectively. However, considerable controversy exists about the validity of information obtained from retrospective self-reports (Berliner & Williams, 1994; Briere & Conte, 1993; Della Femina, Yeager, & Lewis, 1990; Herman & Schatzow, 1987; Kruttschnitt & Dornfeld, 1992; Lindsay & Read, 1994; Loftus, 1993; Widom, 1989c; Williams, 1994). Although many researchers argue that estimates based on adult retrospective reports are probably underestimates (Finkelhor, 1993), others have argued that retrospective reports may contain many false positives (Nash, 1992).

Keywords

Sexual Abuse Childhood Abuse Childhood Sexual Abuse Physical Abuse Childhood Physical Abuse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cathy Spatz Widom
    • 1
  • Christine A. Courtois
    • 2
  1. 1.The University at Albany (SUNY)AlbanyUSA
  2. 2.Post-Traumatic and Dissociative Disorder Programthe Psychiatric Institute of WashingtonUSA

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