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Risk and protective factors associated with posttraumatic stress disorder among child victims of sexual abuse

Wenzel, Sadie P.
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In the current paper, the risk and protective factors associated with the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder after childhood sexual abuse (CSA) among children are critically reviewed. A review of the literature suggests there are several key risk factors that play into the  development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after CSA among children, including older  age, a lack of social support, intellectual disabilities, female sex, prior victimization, poor coping  strategies, and lack of disclosure. The literature demonstrates that disclosure may also be a risk  factor when disclosure occurs soon after the trauma when there was a lack of social support  when disclosing. Further, the literature suggests several prominent protective factors against  PTSD among children who experience CSA, including being male, younger age, positive coping  strategies, disclosure soon after the assault occurs, and regular social support. However, several limitations exist within this literature, including the potential for selection bias in research  involving only substantiated cases of abuse; the examination of a very narrow age bracket of  children between the ages of 7-15; and research that includes only females. Thus, this body of research may only be generalizable to certain groups of individuals and not whole populations. More research is needed to validate and substantiate findings regarding moderators in the  relationship between PTSD and CSA among children
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University of Wyoming. Libraries