Attentional bias in women with histories of childhood emotional abuse
Gay, Lauren Elizabeth
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The current study investigated the impact of childhood emotional abuse (CEA) on cognitive processing and compared performance to childhood sexual abuse (CSA) survivors and a non-abused control group. Two studies were conducted. The first study aimed to develop a list of the CEA-related words for use in the second study through ratings made by women endorsing a CEA history. In the second study, data were collected from 81 women, comprising three groups: CEA history, CSA history, or non-abused control. Attentional bias was assessed by Stroop task performance on neutral, positive, threat, CSA-related and CEA-related words. It was hypothesized Stroop Task performance would be related to abuse history (e.g., individuals with a CEA history would show increased response time to CEA words). Further, the current literature is unclear as to whether attentional bias is driven by abuse experiences or by abuse-related psychopathology. Thus, the impact of psychological symptoms was examined.