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NCJ Number: 135869 Find in a Library
Title: Developmental Model of Victims' Internal Attributions of Responsibility for Sexual Abuse
Journal: Journal of Interpersonal Violence  Volume:7  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1992)  Pages:57-69
Author(s): M P Celano
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 13
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study presents a typology of internal attributions of responsibility by child victims of sexual abuse, and potentially adaptive attributions are distinguished from potentially nonadaptive attributions.
Abstract: The article integrates developmental theory with relevant literature on child sexual abuse to differentiate the concept of internal attribution of responsibility. The type of victim internal attribution depends on several factors including the developmental level of the child, the nature of the abuse, the parents' reaction to disclosure, and the response of community agencies. Eight types of internal attributions, depending on the developmental stage of the victim, are responsibility for failing to recognize abuse, responsibility for participation, responsibility for family reaction to disclosure, responsibility for failing to seek help, responsibility for failing to avoid or control the abuse, responsibility for pleasure gained, responsibility for failing to protect siblings, and responsibility for failing to protect oneself. The developmental analysis of children's internal attributions of responsibility for sexual abuse has several implications for mental health service delivery. First, clinicians should resist the temptation to reassure the child victim by making a global statement that the child had no responsibility in the abuse. The most constructive therapeutic approach is to acknowledge the child's feelings and attributions, place the attribution in its proper developmental context, and clarify how the child might act more responsibly to prevent abuse in the future. 1 figure and 23 references
Main Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse
Index Term(s): Victim attitudes; Victim reactions to crime
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