Recovered memories of child abuse outside of therapy

Olivier Dodier, Lawrence Patihis

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We examined the incidence of recovered memories of child abuse in a large French general public sample (N = 3346). Of the 905 (27% of total sample) who reported having memories of abuse, 211 (23%) reported recovered memories of child abuse that they had no previous memory of, with 82 of these (9% of the 905) reporting that they did not know they were abused beforehand. Ninety percent of the latter reported having recovered their memories when not in a therapy at the time. Those who reported recovered memories outside of therapy often reported discussions with peers and/or media exposure related to childhood abuse that occurred either before or during memory recovery. Our prevalence results are discussed in light of the hypothesis that many recovered memories are in fact reinterpreted continuous memories. The findings on context are discussed in relation to the work on the malleability of memory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538-547
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date3 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2021


  • childhood abuse
  • false memory
  • recovered memory
  • repressed memory
  • suggestion


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