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NCJ Number: 201469 Find in a Library
Title: Further Understanding the Systemic Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Comparison of Two Groups of Clinical Couples
Journal: Journal of Child Sexual Abuse  Volume:11  Issue:3  Dated:2002  Pages:85-106
Author(s): Briana S. Nelson; Karen S. Wampler
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 22
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the effects of child sexual abuse on adult survivors and their spouses/partners, by comparing these couples with couples who had no previous experience with child sexual abuse.
Abstract: The lingering effects of child sexual abuse on adult survivors have been well documented in the literature. In this study, the authors examined how the systemic effects of child sexual abuse impact both those involved in a romantic relationship with the survivor and how the past trauma impacts the relationship itself. Participants included 1 group of 15 adult women with a history of child sexual abuse and their partner or spouse. The second group contained 15 adult women with no history of sexual abuse and their partners or spouses. Current trauma symptoms were measured using the Purdue Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Scale-Revised (PPTSD-R) and stress level was measured using the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). Also assessed were the quality of relationship between the couples, using two assessment scales, and the partners’ perceptions of their couple interactions. Results of statistical analysis revealed that female sexual abuse survivors and their partners experienced higher levels of stress however, the relationship measures did not support the hypothesis that post-traumatic stress would negatively impact the couple relationship. The findings lend support for the theory of secondary traumatic stress, which posits that those in close contact with a traumatized person become traumatized by proxy. Future research should focus on developing theoretical explanations for the systemic effects that childhood sexual abuse has on those in relationships with survivors. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Comparative analysis
Index Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse; Sexual assault trauma; Stress assessment
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