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ERIC Number: ED397364
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-May
Pages: 60
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Impact of Sexual Abuse on Object Relations: A Review of Recent Empirical Research.
Rolls, Brenda Gail
Object relations theory holds that a constant and reciprocal interaction exists between past and present interpersonal dealings which, in turn, influence the development of representations. Such representations help individuals assimilate and understand immediate experiences. This paper examines the findings of recent empirical studies designed to assess object relations functioning in sexually abused individuals. Review of the literature revealed problems concerning consistent definitions of abuse and the challenges of memory. Some trends emerged which point to the types of object relations deficits and disruptions that resulted from abuse. Sexual abuse appeared to hinder the structural development of object relations. Two processes that may be disrupted by sexual abuse are: (1) the differentiation of self from other; and (2) the developmental awareness of others as separate with unique and complex characteristics. Furthermore, the victims' affective world seems to be largely colored by malevolent expectations. Other individuals are seen as hostile and threatening, and these affective experiences are internalized and incorporated into the object representations; intimacy and trust in these situations are tenuous at best. Because the issues here are difficult to define and understand, more research is needed to assess the sensitivity and validity of the measures currently available. Contains 39 references. (RJM)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A