Call edition 2012

A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.

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Alexithymia, anger and hostility in women with a history of childhood abuse

Ana Maria CASTAÑEDA CHANG researcher laureate

°1968 Peru
Master’s in psychology, Universidad Femenina del Sagrado Corazón, Lima, Peru, 1997

Alexitimia, cólera y hostilidad en mujeres con historia de maltrato infantil

The work of Ana María Castañeda concerns a theme of considerable interest for the social and human development of her country, and by extension of Latin America.
The value of her work is twofold:

- it contributes to improving the quality of life of one of the most vulnerable sections of the population: women who have suffered childhood abuse

- it has an effect on society as a whole since women assume the key role in bringing up new generations, and an improvement in their quality of life will result in better emotional development of new generations.

The emotional well-being of the population is a key factor in human development. This study examines the way in which traumatic childhood experiences and child abuse affect the emotional health of the women who suffered it. The fact of having investigated the incidence of child abuse among Peruvian girls (who are now adults) and the various forms of abuse is in itself a major contribution in terms of denouncing the situation. But, in addition to this, the fact of having studied the consequences the abuse has on the adults concerned has the merit of recognising the seriousness of this problem. This has a corrective effect for victims, with abuse being presented as a social problem, since one of the effects of abuse is that the victim blames herself for the abuse suffered. Turning it into a research problem has this consequence, which is in itself salutary: it “corrects” the image which victims have of themselves.
The study tackles in particular the way in which these childhood experiences affect the emotional health of women, and the main conclusion is that there is no psychological damage compared with women who did not suffer such abuse.
This study fulfils an important role for the development by placing the emotional health of women in the forefront of academic interest. If the gender aspect is also covered, the future development of this line of research will doubtless contribute to improving the quality of life of the population, which is the main objective of human development.

report written by Prof. Dr C. Delgado, Faculty of Psychology, Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, Spain