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NCJ Number: 220361 Find in a Library
Title: Effect of Child Sexual Abuse Allegations/Investigations on the Mother/Child Relationship
Journal: Violence Against Women  Volume:13  Issue:10  Dated:October 2007  Pages:1053-1071
Author(s): Carol A. Plummer; Julie Eastin
Date Published: October 2007
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article describes the results of a research study designed to understand the experience of mothers and mother/child relationships in cases where it is suspected that their preschool-age children have been sexually abused.
Abstract: The exploratory study shows that all the mothers reported substantial strain in the mother/child relationship precisely at the time that a strong mother/child bond becomes important to healing after sexual abuse. One of the strongest findings from these data was a predominance of insecurity in how to proceed in the parenting role. The insecurity began before actual knowledge of the abuse and continued as the abuse was confirmed, resulting in mothers feeling unprepared for behaviors and feelings that may emerge in their abused children or themselves. Learning about one’s child’s abuse, concurrent with new demands placed on the mother, resulted in both physical and emotional exhaustion. Mothers felt unprepared for the range and level of child behavior problems with which they would need to cope after disclosure of abuse. One behavior which was problematic and especially directed at the mothers was aggression. Services to mothers in cases of sexual abuse of children must be examined and increased, with efforts to meet the needs of the mothers themselves and with the recognition that this is a unique crisis for them. In addition, the potential damage to the mother/child bond and relationship dynamics needs to be considered in future studies in order to design sensitive interventions. In alleged sexual abuse cases, the mother’s efforts to provide a protective environment are critical to the child’s well-being. Using 2 focus groups with 10 participants, this qualitative study examined changes in the mother/child relationship after disclosures of sexual abuse of preschoolers. References
Main Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Domestic relations; Family crisis; Family intervention programs; Home environment; Parent-Child Relations
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