Emma Antelo, Omar Saldaña,Oscar Wu-Salmeron,Alvaro Rodriguez-Carballeira
Friday, June 24th, 2022, 3:00 PM-3:50 PM Part 1, 4:00 PM-4:50 PM Part 2 – Online
During the last decades, different studies have shown that people who experience group psychological abuse may suffer clinical distress and psychosocial difficulties after leaving the group. However, previous studies conducted in other abusive contexts indicate that social functioning and resilience can mitigate these adverse psychological effects of interpersonal violence. Unfortunately, little is known about the role of these variables regarding how survivors of social groups that are high-demand, manipulative, or abusive towards their members cope with trauma. Taking into account this gap, the purpose of this study is to examine how social functioning and resilience may influence distress suffered by former members of abusive groups. An online questionnaire was administered to 794 English-speaking former members of different types of groups, 499 victims of group psychological abuse and 295 non-victims. Results showed that victims of group psychological abuse reported lower levels of social functioning and resilience than non-victims, and higher levels of psychosocial difficulties and psychopathological symptoms. Furthermore, results showed that participants who had experienced higher levels of group psychological abuse tend to have poorer social functioning, negatively affecting resilience. In turn, lower levels of social functioning and resilience may increase distress. In addition, women and survivors who were born or raised within the group reported lower social functioning, and in consequence, higher levels of distress. This study highlights the need to promote and enhance social adjustment and positive coping for fostering recovery from the abusive experience. Effective interventions will need to focus on a wide range of factors, including the abusive experience characteristics, the circumstances of the survivors such as sex or the age joining the group, and the promotion of social functioning and resilience.
Emma Antelo, PhD, has a degree in Psychology and Criminology and a doctorate in Social Psychology. I have done a master’s degree in Psychosocial Intervention and I am doing a master’s degree in Forensic Psychology.In the field of psychosocial intervention, I have worked mainly with young people and groups in situations of vulnerability and social exclusion, providing both individual and group care. In addition, I have worked as a teacher and researcher at the University of Barcelona, so I have extensive experience in teaching classes and workshops, carrying out activities and group dynamics, interviews, and also developing projects, workshops and training content. (google translation)
Omar Saldaña, PhD, is an Assistant Professor under the Serra Húnter Program at the University of Barcelona. His research focuses on violence and psychological abuse perpetrated in different interpersonal contexts, including group psychological abuse, intimate partner violence, and school bullying. He specializes in the delimitation and measurement of psychological abuse and its adverse consequences.
Oscar Wu-Salmeron is a PhD student in the Dept. of Social Psychology in the University of Barcelona and member of the Invictus research group. His research interests are the consequences of group psychological abuse and the psychosocial factors that contribute to them. Having a Master’s Degree in Health Psychology, he combines research with clinical work treating addictions and is a former board member of RedUNE.
Álvaro Rodríguez-Carballeira, PhD, is Full Professor of Social and Legal Psychology at the University of Barcelona (Spain). From 1999 to 2008 he had been Head of the Social Psychology Department at this university. He has been Director of the “Invictus Research” group (http://www.ub.edu/invictus/) since 2003 and is the coordinator of the PhD Program in Social and Organizational Psychology at University of Barcelona. He is a member of the board of the “Spanish Scientific Society of Social Psychology.” His research interests include the psychology of influence, harassment and violence, especially in group settings (cults), workplace, intimate partner, and terrorism. He has been involved in many projects and published many articles in these areas. During the 1980s, before and after a 1985 internship at ICSA, he worked with families and victims affected by cult membership. Dr. Rodriguez-Carballeira was awarded ICSA’s 2011 Margaret Singer Award “for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion and undue influence”.