About the Author

    My name is Andrea Wagner and I am a Family Nurse Practitioner at a community health clinic in Oregon. The development of this website was part of my master’s degree scholarly project. The basis for this website came from a literature review I did, which is titled: “Triggered Memories of Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors: Healthcare Complications and Related Management Strategies as a Web-Based Resource for Primary Care Providers”.

    About the Topic

    I completed my community health/psychiatric nursing rotation at a long-term adolescent psychiatric facility in Seattle. It was here that I began to learn about how childhood sexual abuse affects current and future medical care. I was fascinated by the fact that seemingly innocent actions such as doing an ultrasound or an oral exam could elicit powerful and painful memories of past abuse for many patients.

    Literature Review Methods

    In order to identify the published articles about healthcare experiences that trigger sexual abuse memories a review of the literature was completed. The articles were found by primarily searching three databases. A PubMed database search for the terms “childhood sexual abuse” produced 2743 articles, which was reduced to 343 when the search was limited to “survivors childhood sexual abuse.” Further restricting the search to “sexual abuse triggers,” it produced 25 relevant articles. A PsychInfo database search for “sexual abuse triggers” produced a total of 35 articles of which an additional four articles meeting inclusion criteria were identified. Next, a search of the database Academic Search Complete was conducted using the terms “sexual abuse triggers” and 17 results were returned, two of which were unique publications. The remaining articles were found by searching either Academic Search Complete, PubMed or PsychInfo databases for specific triggers, such as “breastfeeding sexual abuse” or “dentist sexual abuse.” The results to be included were then limited to peer-reviewed articles from academic journals, in the English language, which were published between 1992 and 2008.


    I would like to thank my project chair Dr. Betsy Gilbert, RN, PhD and reader Dr. Maria Pettinato, RN, PhD for their support, encouragement and editing. I would also like to thank content expert Dr. Laura Brown, Ph.D. ABPP, and the instructors and students at Seattle University who have provided wonderful feedback. Thanks also to David Bryan for his assistance with the design and Brandon Wagner for his help in coding the site.