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ERIC Number: EJ788652
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Pages: 15
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0145-2134
Dissociation Predicts Later Attention Problems in Sexually Abused Children
Kaplow, Julie B.; Hall, Erin; Koenen, Karestan C.; Dodge, Kenneth A.; Amaya-Jackson, Lisa
Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal, v32 n2 p261-275 Feb 2008
Objective: The goals of this research are to develop and test a prospective model of attention problems in sexually abused children that includes fixed variables (e.g., gender), trauma, and disclosure-related pathways. Methods: At Time 1, fixed variables, trauma variables, and stress reactions upon disclosure were assessed in 156 children aged 8-13 years. At the Time 2 follow-up (8-36 months following the initial interview), 56 of the children were assessed for attention problems. Results: A path analysis involving a series of hierarchically nested, ordinary least squares multiple regression analyses indicated two direct paths to attention problems including the child's relationship to the perpetrator ([beta] = 0.23) and dissociation measured immediately after disclosure ([beta] = 0.53), while controlling for concurrent externalizing behavior ([beta] = 0.43). Post-traumatic stress symptoms were only indirectly associated with attention problems via dissociation. Taken together, these pathways accounted for approximately 52% of the variance in attention problems and provided an excellent fit to the data. Conclusions: Children who report dissociative symptoms upon disclosure of CSA and/or were sexually abused by someone within their family are at an increased risk of developing attention problems. Practice implications: Findings from this study indicate that children who experienced sexual abuse at an earlier age, by someone within their family, and/or report symptoms of dissociation during disclosure are especially likely to benefit from intervention. Effective interventions should involve (1) providing emotion regulation and coping skills; and (2) helping children to process traumatic aspects of the abuse to reduce the cyclic nature of traumatic reminders leading to unmanageable stress and dissociation.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A