publication . 2014

Nature of child sexual abuse and psychopathology in adult survivors : results from a clinical sample in Scotland.

Bak-Klimek, Anna; Karatzias, Thanos; Campbell, Jim; Pugh, R; Laybourn, Phyllis; Elliott, L;
Open Access English
  • Published: 01 Aug 2014
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Country: United Kingdom
The relationship between history of childhood sexual abuse and psychopathology in adult life is well established. However, understanding of the mechanisms by which abuse exerts its effects is limited. To our knowledge, this is the first study which investigates the relationship between a wide range of sexual abuse characteristics (i.e. age at onset, frequency of assaults, number of perpetrators and their relationship to the victim) and the severity of psychopathological disorders in a large sample of adult child sexual abuse (CSA) survivors who attended a specialist Psychotherapy Service for CSA survivors. CSA survivors in our study experienced severe sexual assault(s) in their early years and presented with severe pathology which could suggest a strong causal link. However, none of the examined trauma characteristics significantly predicted severity of psychopathology. This may suggest that for severely disordered, treatment-seeking CSA survivors post-abuse psychopathology could be caused by other factors. The study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that CSA effects may be dependent on factors which are not necessarily related to the nature of sexual abuse. The study findings will help improve clinicians' insight into the determinants of psychopathology.
free text keywords: Adult survivors, child sexual abuse, mental health services, nature of abuse, psychopathology, 152 Perception, movement, emotions & drives, 362 Social welfare problems & services, BF Psychology, HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare, Wellbeing
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