The role of PTSD in understanding child allegation of sexual abuse

Paola Di Blasio, Sarah Miragoli, Rossella Shoshanna' Procaccia

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroChapter

15 Citazioni (Scopus)


This study aimed to investigate how PTSD symptoms inpact on cjhildren’s narratives of their abuse. The study was carried out on 80 allegations of victims of sexual abuse given in criminal proceedings concluding in the conviction of the accused. The mean age of the child-witnesses, of whom 53 were female and 27 male, was, at the time of the allegation, 9 years (SD = 4 years; range: 4-17 years). The results showed that age undoubtedly influenced the complexity and content of the accounts. Regarding the influence of post-traumatic symptomatology on autobiographical memory the results indicate that the narrative of subjects with PTSD symptoms compared with those without symptoms suffers from micro-deficiencies which, although they do not lessen the validity of the testimony as a whole, make it less powerful. This lesser efficacy is caused by the lack both of references to Self and of central elements of the narrative, like the description of the events in terms of actions and reactions (specifically, the total interactions and the interactions with the abuser) and the spatial collocation of the events. The children with acute PTSD employed a lesser number of words which evoke a focalisation on self as the subject agent, and infrequently adopted expressions and sentences in which “I”, “me”, “myself” “my” appear, but they used a more impersonal style of narrative in which the subject did not emerge as the agent or the thinker
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospitePost-traumatic syndromes in children and adolescents
Numero di pagine22
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2012


  • allegations
  • child sexual abuse
  • ptsd
  • trauma
  • traumatic narratives


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