Disequilibrium and loss of narrative coherence in identity construction: a piagetian perspective on trauma in adolescent victims of sexual abuse
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Previous authors have presented contradictory views of trauma as either the over-or under-elaboration of experience. This article provides a new theoretical perspective on trauma by incorporating Piagetian constructivism. On a theoretical level, it argues that both forms of narrative disruption following a traumatic episode are not contradictory. Rather, both over-and under-elaboration indicate disequilibrium and loss of narrative coherence in the construction of personal identity. Results are presented from an empirical study of the autobiographies of 15 adolescent victims (between the ages of 12 and 17) of sexual assault. Participants were enrolled in the initial stage of a psychotherapeutic treatment program for abuse in Santiago, Chile, at the time of study. Analysis of participant autobiographies reveals multiple forms of disorganization. The majority of adolescent narratives referred to predominance of traumatic experiences, whereas a small number of cases excluded traumatic experiences altogether. Discussion of study results shows that both forms of narrative disorganization indicate disequilibrium and loss of narrative coherence. Piagetian constructivist theory provides insight into this phenomenon by supporting and advancing understandings of trauma from a constructivist perspective. Implications for therapeutic treatment of sexual abuse, which may help generate clinical guidelines, are presented.
Artículo de publicación ISI
Cita del ítemJournal of Constructivist Psychology, 30:4, 323-338
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