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Title:Breaking the Silence Again: A Retrospective Study Investigating the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Disclosures Upon Symptoms and Coping in Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse
Author(s):Gold, Yael
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Fitzgerald, Louise F.
Department / Program:Educational Psychology
Discipline:Educational Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Developmental
Abstract:This study addresses the long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse upon psychological symptoms and coping abilities in a sample of 88 women who were sexually abused as children. The goal of this study was to reach a better understanding of the ways in which childhood disclosure experiences moderate the long-term effects of traumatization. Participants completed the Child Sexual Abuse Questionnaire (Finkelhor, 1979), the Trauma Symptom Checklist (TSC-40), the COPE, and a scale that inquired about self-perceptions immediately following childhood disclosure experiences. Correlation analyses performed on the entire sample indicated relationships between specific aspects of the abuse and long-term symptomatology. Subsequently, regression analyses were performed on the data gathered from the sub-sample of individuals who had sought support via disclosure within two years of their abuse experiences. This portion of the sample was comprised of 38 women. Results indicated that specific abuse variables (overall severity, threat, force) in conjunction with negative disclosure experiences, appeared to exacerbate long-term traumatization. Specifically, the contextual variable "disclosure" appeared to contribute towards individuals' current experiences of depression, dissociation, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. With respect to current strategies for coping with stress, the portion of the sample who had disclosed as children exhibited decreased likelihood to seek social support as a mechanism for dealing with stress during adulthood. These individuals also reported that they had difficulty both, with accepting current stressors and with suppressing competing activities in order to deal with these stressors. Results are discussed with respect to the overall finding that children who are sexually abused are often doubly victimized, first by the abuse itself, and subsequently by their attempts at ameliorating their situations by turning to others for support.
Issue Date:1997
Description:131 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9737115
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1997

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