Traumatic memory characteristics: a cross-validated mediational model of response to rape among employed women.

Abstract

In a cross-validated mediational model, the authors examined characteristics of memories formed in response to rape and other intense unpleasant and pleasant experiences. Data were responses to a mailed survey of women medical center and university employees. Measurement models of memory and symptom factors and a structural model with pathways among cognitive appraisal, emotional valence, memory characteristics, and health outcomes were developed in Sample 1 (N = 1,307) and confirmed in Sample 2 (N = 2,142). Rape had substantial direct effects on 2 memory factors (Clarity and Affect) and indirect effects through the construal of victimization. Rape was associated with memories described as more emotionally intense but less clear and coherent and less often thought of or talked about. Most effects on physical symptoms were nonsignificant. Implications of findings for neurohormonal and multiple representation models of emotional memory and to cognitive avoidance are discussed.

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