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ERIC Number: EJ859176
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0145-2134
Symptomatology in Adolescents Following Initial Disclosure of Sexual Abuse: The Roles of Crisis Support, Appraisals and Coping
Bal, Sarah; Crombez, Geert; De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse; Van Oost, Paulette
Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal, v33 n10 p717-727 Oct 2009
Objective: The present study examined possible explanations for symptom development and variability in sexually abused adolescents. A theoretical model of sexual abuse, in which appraisal, coping and crisis support play prominent roles, was tested in a clinical group of 100 sexually abused adolescents. Method: Participants, aged 12-18 years, completed questionnaires regarding severity of abuse, negative appraisals, crisis support, coping strategies, and trauma-related stress symptoms. Results: Since severity of abuse had no influence on the association between appraisals and symptoms it was eliminated from our model. Structural equation modeling analyses showed a significant interrelationship between the examined concepts. Adolescents who appraised the abuse as more threatening showed more internalizing and externalizing trauma symptoms. Moreover, more negative appraisals were associated with more avoidance as well as with more active coping strategies. Direct crisis support was associated with less negative appraisals and with the use of more active coping strategies. Conclusions: The study showed that especially the buffering role of crisis support and the role of negative appraisals explained symptom development and variety in sexually abused adolescents. Practice implications: Adaptation to sexual abuse includes the ways in which adolescents perceive the event as threatening and harmful, how they cope with the abusive experience, and how they receive direct support from their family. Clinicians, therefore, need to expand the focus of their assessments beyond age- and trauma-specific symptoms, to age- and trauma-specific appraisals, coping, and social support. The assessment of these factors should take place as soon as possible after the disclosure of the abuse. Individualized treatment plans and clinical interventions need to be based on these personal and environmental variables, rather than reliance on the influence of abuse-related characteristics, such as the severity or type of abuse. (Contains 1 table and 5 figures.)
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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