Coping with child sexual abuse among college stude...

The role of continuity of abuse and relationship with the perpetrator

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of child sexual abuse (CSA) on the use of coping strategies and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) scores in young adults, as well as the role of avoidance and approach coping strategies in those PTSD scores in CSA victims. The role of coping strategies was studied by considering their possible interactive effect with the continuity of abuse and the relationship with the perpetrator; the effect of coping strategies on PTSD was also compared between CSA victim and non-CSA victim participants.

The sample was comprised of 138 victims of CSA and another 138 participants selected as a comparison group. Data about child sexual abuse were obtained from a questionnaire developed for this purpose. Copingstrategies were assessed with the How I Deal with Things Scale (Burt & Katz, 1987), while PTSD scores were assessed with the “Escala de Gravedad de Síntomas del Trastorno de Estrés Postraumático” (Severity of Symptoms of PTSD Scale; Echeburúa et al., 1997).

Participants who had been victims of CSA showed significantly higher PTSD scores and lower approach coping strategies scores. However, differences in avoidance coping strategies between groups were not consistent and did not always follow the expected direction.

Authors: David Cantón-Cortés and José Cantón
Doi: doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2009.11.004