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Am J Psychiatry 131:981-986, September 1974
doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.131.9.981
© 1974 American Psychiatric Association
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Rape Trauma Syndrome

ANN WOLBERT BURGESS D.N.SC.1, and LYNDA LYTLE HOLMSTROM PH.D.2

1 Associate Professor of Nursing, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass. 02167
2 Associate Professor of Sociology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass. 02167

The authors interviewed and followed 146 patients admitted during a one-year period to the emergency ward of a city hospital with a presenting complaint of having been raped. Based upon an analysis of the 92 adult women rape victims in the sample, they document the existence of a rape trauma syndrome and delineate its symptomatology as well as that of two variations, compounded reaction and silent reaction. Specific therapeutic techniques are required for each of these three reactions. Crisis intervention counseling is effective with typical rape trauma syndrome; additional professional help is needed in the case of compounded reaction; and the silent rape reaction means that the clinician must be alert to indications of the possibility of rape having occurred even when the patient never mentions such an attack.




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