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Overcoming trauma: Psychological and demographic characteristics of child sexual abuse survivors in adulthood

Author(s)Whitelock, Claire F., Michael E. Lamb and Peter J. Rentfrow
Title Overcoming trauma: psychological and demographic characteristics of child sexual abuse survivors in adulthood
Source Clinical Psychological Science, first published online 18 March 2013, p1-13
Date 2013
Document type Journal article
Summary This study explores the correlates of negative, resilient and positive responses to child sexual abuse (CSA). Data for the study was obtained from a subset of cases collected as part of an online survey hosted by the BBC. 47,869 respondents were selected as meeting the researcher's criteria. To assess the effect of demographic, personality and personal history variables on well-being following CSA, a series of multiple regression analyses were performed. It was found that abuse-specific and personality variables were important predictors of life satisfaction for CSA survivors. In general it was found that positive outcomes were more likely for female, young, white, employed individuals, who were highly educated, earning more money and in intimate relationships and who had suffered fewer traumatic experiences in childhood. Age at the time of the abuse was not significant. The authors concluded that nonnegative outcomes after CSA were not only possible but likely to be common.
Keywords Child sexual abuse; adulthood; survivors; thrivers; resilience; life satisfaction

Sexual assault