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NCJ Number: 205433 Find in a Library
Title: Disclosure, Reactions, and Social Support: Findings From a Sample of Adult Victims of Child Sexual Abuse
Journal: Child Maltreatment  Volume:9  Issue:2  Dated:May 2004  Pages:190-200
Author(s): Eva Jonzon; Frank Lindblad
Date Published: May 2004
Page Count: 11
Publisher: http://www.sagepub.com 
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study collected information about abuse characteristics, disclosure, and current social support from 122 adult women who reported exposure to child sexual abuse by someone close to them.
Abstract: During a 3-hour session, each woman was asked to complete a written questionnaire and to participate in a 1-hour semistructured interview. Data on victimization and current social support were obtained from questionnaires, and data on disclosure and reactions were obtained from the interviews. A majority of the women had been severely abused, mostly by penetration, for a long period of time by someone close in the nuclear family, most often a father figure. The abuse often started before age seven, and the duration ranged between a single episode to 18 years, with the average duration being 7 years. Violence in association with the sexual abuse was reported by 39 percent of the women. A primary study finding was that women who disclosed their abuse in childhood tended to be victims of more physical and violent abuse; and more severe abuse was related to negative reactions from the social network; however, the amount of negative reactions was not related to subsequent social support. Women who reported more positive reactions from the social network also perceived a higher degree of current social support in adulthood. On the whole, the study results indicate that disclosure of the abuse in childhood is risky for the child. The lack of relationships found between childhood disclosures and positive reactions or high social support confirms previous findings that use of active or social coping strategies in childhood has a weak or no relation to positive outcomes. A majority of the women disclosed their abuse long after it had ceased. Overall, the study found that disclosure or nondisclosure of the abuse during childhood does not irrevocably determine outcomes in adulthood. In spite of whatever destructive consequences severe abuse and negative reactions may have, there is always a chance to obtain support from others at some stage, which is then closely connected to better psychological outcomes. 4 tables, 47 references, and appended table that defines positive, negative, and neutral reactions to disclosure in the dimensions of emotional response, empathic attitude, attitude of credibility, and active response during talk
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Adult survivors of child sexual abuse; Child abuse detection; Child Sexual Abuse; Foreign criminal justice research; Incest treatment; Social conditions; Sweden; Treatment effectiveness; Treatment techniques
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=205433

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