Child sexual abuse and family relations (WC2011-092)

Background

Starting date: 20/06/2012

Many studies have investigated the influences of parental emotional reactions on children’s adjustment following child sexual abuse (CSA), but few have examined the relational effects of discovery of CSA and parental emotional reactions on its discovery. Specifically, systematic empirical research on the effects of CSA on the parent-child relationship, the interparental relationship, and parenting skills is lacking. Because these relational effects play a crucial role in children’s adjustment to CSA, the purpose of this investigation is to examine the relational effects of discovering CSA on adjustment and treatment outcome among families of CSA survivors. In addition, it is unclear if sharing the trauma narrative with parents is beneficial. We expect that in families where CSA has been discovered as compared to families where no CSA took place, the parent-child relationship and the interparental relationship are impaired, and that these relational effects play a crucial role in children’s adjustment to CSA. We hypothesize that sharing the trauma narrative will improve the parent-child relationship and thereby reduce child symptomatology. The results of this study will contribute to the growing literature that aims to identify the ingredients of the optimal treatment for children who experienced CSA.