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Title:Straight from the heart: A qualitative analysis of teenage parents and child sexual abuse prevention
Author(s):Snavely, Glenda Annette
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Vattano, A.
Department / Program:Social Work
Discipline:Social Work
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Social Work
Abstract:Sexual abuse happens to children in every class, culture, race, religion, and gender. The result is often devastating and painful. Among the risks associated with being a child of a teenage parent is the potential for experiencing sexual abuse. With the high incidence of adolescent pregnancies each year resulting in live births, the resulting number of children at risk of sexual abuse is enormous. Research has not kept pace with the need to discover ways to protect children from this phenomenon. The present investigation focuses on a self-help group, the Heart to Heart Program. The Heart to Heart program was developed to teach teenage mothers how to protect themselves and their children from experiencing sexual abuse. This study investigated three questions in relation to the prevention of sexual abuse: (1) Was there an increase in the teen mother participants' knowledge about child sexual abuse following their experience in the group? (2) What were the changes in the teen mothers' attitudes about sexual abuse following the group? (3) Did their experience in the group affect any change in their sexual abuse prevention behaviors?
Pre- and post-group interviews were conducted with a total of thirteen teen mothers involved in the Heart to Heart groups. Pre-interview role-plays were designed to assess the teen mothers' knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes about sexual abuse. In-depth interviews, learning journals, and agency records were utilized to determine changes in these areas.
Using self-help group concepts such as shared experience, support, and communication, Heart to Heart informed the teen mothers in the study about sexual abuse, and how to prevent this happening to their children. Through the group the teen mothers found their "voice" in relation to sexual abuse. Talking about and understanding the dynamics of sexual abuse empowered the teen mothers with the ability to protect their children from sexual abuse by talking about inappropriate touching. Using their newfound "voice" to take a proactive stance in preventing abuse, they provided information about sexual abuse prevention to others. Changes in knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes provided the impetus for the teen mothers' improved ability to protect their children.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Snavely, Glenda Annette
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9136739
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9136739

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