Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Brain Function as Measured by Quantitative EEG, Neuropsychological, and Psychological Tests

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Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) has been the subject of much recent controversy as a result of Rind, Tromovitch and Bauserman's (1998) meta-analytic examination of CSA, which found a weak relationship between CSA and self-reported psychopathology in college samples. There have been few studies of CSA which look beyond self-report. The present study is an exploration of the relationships between CSA, quantitative electroencephalographic (QEEG), neuropsychological, and psychological measurements in 24 high-functioning, unmedicated CSA adults who were matched for age, gender, and handedness with a group of adults without CSA (NCSA). The objectives of this study were to: 1) examine EEG abnormalities ... continued below

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Black, Lisa Myers August 2005.

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  • Black, Lisa Myers

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Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) has been the subject of much recent controversy as a result of Rind, Tromovitch and Bauserman's (1998) meta-analytic examination of CSA, which found a weak relationship between CSA and self-reported psychopathology in college samples. There have been few studies of CSA which look beyond self-report. The present study is an exploration of the relationships between CSA, quantitative electroencephalographic (QEEG), neuropsychological, and psychological measurements in 24 high-functioning, unmedicated CSA adults who were matched for age, gender, and handedness with a group of adults without CSA (NCSA). The objectives of this study were to: 1) examine EEG abnormalities associated with CSA, 2) investigate QEEG cortical coherence in the groups using neuroelectric Eigen image (NEI) connectivity indices (Hudspeth, 1999), 3) integrate personality differences associated with CSA with EEG differences, and 4) better understand left versus right hemisphere functioning in CSA using intelligence testing. An examination of QEEG cortical coherence revealed moderate to large effect sizes indicating patterns of decreased connectivity between brain regions on the right frontally in the delta band, and frontally and centro-temporally on the right in the alpha band, and posteriorly in the alpha and beta bands, as well as in the cross-correlation; increased connectivity between brain regions was evidenced centrally across the motor strip and on the left temporally in the delta band, which differentiated the groups. Large effect sizes obtained on measures of personality were related to poorer adjustment for CSA adults in comparison to NCSA adults. In contrast to prior findings with clinical groups (Black, Hudspeth, Townsend, & Bodenhamer-Davis, 2002; Ito et al., 1993), hypotheses related to QEEG cortical coherence (left hemisphere alpha hypercoherence and right hemisphere theta hypocoherence), EEG abnormalities, and IQ (Verbal less than Performance) were not supported. Walker's (2003) theoretical modular coherence model was utilized to integrate coherence and personality variables and provide treatment options.

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  • August 2005

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  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:15 p.m.

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  • April 11, 2016, 3:59 p.m.

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Black, Lisa Myers. Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Brain Function as Measured by Quantitative EEG, Neuropsychological, and Psychological Tests, dissertation, August 2005; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4898/: accessed November 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .