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ERIC Number: ED370028
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
Pages: 6
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Resilience in Child Sexual Abuse Survivors: Healing Power of Illusions.
Himelein, Melissa J.; And Others
Because research has focused on psychopathology rather than psychological health, little is known about how child sexual abuse (CSA) survivors escape childhood trauma unharmed. This investigation sought to identify cognitive characteristics associated with resilience following a history of CSA. The study sample of 180 women was drawn from a small, public university. Questionnaires assessed demographic information, CSA history, cognitive characteristics and illusions, and current psychological functioning. Illusion was defined on the basis of three cognitive measures: (1) exaggerated perceptions of internal control over life events; (2) unrealistic optimism; and (3) accurate self-knowledge. Twenty-five percent of participants (n=45) reported a history of contact CSA, defined as unwanted sexual contact occurring prior to the age of 15 and initiated by someone 5 or more years senior. A greater percentage of abused women than nonabused women were represented by the lowest income category: below $15,000. No significant differences were detected between the abused and nonabused women after performance of a multivariate analysis of variance on several measures. Perceptions of control and optimistic expectations of the future, even when exaggerated or distorted, appeared to facilitate adjustment for both groups, suggesting that cognitive methods of coping may be of help irrespective of trauma history. (RJM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A