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Abstract

Researchers have suggested that childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is a distal risk factor for the development of emotion regulation difficulties in adulthood. The present study examined 20 females with and without a history of CSA on the dimensions of subjective emotional experience (positive and negative activation), facial expressivity, and disclosure (positive and negative emotion words) in response to positively and negatively valenced film stimuli. The CSA group reported experiencing reduced positive activation while no group differences were found for negative activation. The CSA group disclosed fewer negative emotion words to express their experience and exhibited a trend towards less facial expressivity. The results are interpreted within the context of CSA survivors' emotional responding difficulties, and their implications are discussed.