Sexuality & Couples

Sophie Bergeron  Ph.D


Did you know that mindfulness decreases the severity of depressive symptoms for adults seeking sex therapy who have experienced childhood cumulative trauma?


An ongoing study conducted by the Trauma and Couple Research and Intervention Unit (TRACE) led by Natacha Godbout focuses on the realities of adults who consult graduate interns in clinical sexology, in various settings through the province of Quebec. This article explored the role of mindfulness and dissociative symptoms, in the link uniting the accumulation of interpersonal trauma in childhood and depressive symptoms in adulthood.

A total of 234 adults who consulted an intern in clinical sexology for sexual and/or relational difficulties completed questionnaires at the beginning of their therapeutic process which assessed their experiences of childhood trauma, mindfulness disposition, dissociative and depressive symptoms.

What were the results?

We found a strong link between experiences of childhood cumulative trauma and depressive symptoms in adulthood, where victims of cumulative trauma reported more depressive symptoms than non-victims. On the other hand, results showed that the higher dissociative symptoms and lower disposition toward mindfulness in victims of cumulative trauma both acted as mechanisms explaining their increased levels of depressive symptoms. Thus, mindfulness seems to be a key variable to reduce depressive symptoms.

Overall, our findings suggest that focusing on mindfulness could reduce depressive symptoms in clients seeking treatment for sexual and/or relational difficulties, particularly survivors of childhood cumulative trauma.

If you would like to know more about this study, we invite you to read the full paper:

Bolduc, R., Bigras, N., Daspe, M. È., Hébert, M., & Godbout, N. (2018). Childhood cumulative trauma and depressive symptoms in adulthood: The role of mindfulness and dissociation. Mindfulness, 9(5), 1594-1603.

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