Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
This study compared body image, patterns of coping, and the relationship between these factors in subjects with and without a reported background of childhood incest. Self-report measures of personal experience (Relevant Variable Questionnaire and the Assessment of Coping Interview), body image (the Human Figure Drawing Test (HFDT) and the Body Image Assessment (BIA)), and coping (the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES), the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM) Coping Scale, and the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R)) were administered individually to twenty-two women with reported incest histories and an equal number of women with no reported history of sexual or physical abuse. Significant between-groups differences indicated that individuals reporting incest were characterized by greater general distress, increased body image distortion, and greater use of dissociation, compared to non-abused subjects. Individuals reporting incest also exhibited differences related to body image in childhood, including less physical activity and mild cognitive impairment, reflected in drawings of self. Additionally, preliminary analysis showed an interaction between body image and coping styles, such that individuals with greater body distortion showed preference for a less advanced coping style (Substitution), while those with less body distortion and/or no history of incest manifested a preference for an advanced, cognitively based coping style (Replacement). Physical force in conjunction with incest was not associated with differences in body image distortion or coping patterns. These results suggest several avenues for further research of clinical intervention with individuals with a history of incest, including attachment and body-based interventions in childhood and/or adulthood.
Brown, Laura E..
"A Comparison of Coping Styles and Body Image of Abused and Non-Abused Women"
(1997). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), Dissertation, Psychology, Old Dominion University, DOI: 10.25777/akq2-xt06