Cult Experience: Psychological Abuse, Distress, Personality Characteristics, and Changes in Personal Relationships Reported by Former Members of Church Universal and Triumphant
Cultic Studies Journal
Psychological Manipulation and Society
Vol. 15, No. 2, 1998
Do cultic groups, such as the Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT), differ from benign groups in their use of unethical means of persuasion, control, and exploitation? We investigated 61 former members
of CUT, evaluating their perceptions of the group�s abusiveness, level of psychological distress, personality characteristics, and reported quality of close personal relationships. Respondents reported non-abusive pre-involvement perceptions of CUT, but post-involvement perceptions reflected high abusiveness. Many respondents reported a relatively high level of psychological distress, which was
reduced by strong spousal relationships during and after CUT involvement and which decreased after leaving CUT. Respondents� scores on a personality questionnaire were mostly normal. Personal relationships tended to deteriorate during CUT involvement. These findings suggest that cult involvement may adversely affect members� lives.