The Long-Term Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse: Counseling Implications
Social workers have identified an association between a history of childhood sexual abuse and impairment in emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and interpersonal functioning in adult survivors. This article examines similarities and differences in posttraumatic stress symptomatology between Vietnam veterans and adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Results indicate that the two groups were similar in that they both scored in the direction suggestive of posttraumatic symptomatology on various measures. Significant differences were found on only one measure. Content analysis also revealed differences in identification of stimuli that evoked anxiety. Examination of qualitative data provided further support for a conceptual model using a cognitive perspective. Overall, results indicated that childhood sexual abuse can be considered a traumatic event that can result in symptoms similar to those demonstrated by individuals who have experienced war-related trauma. Implications for social work practice, policy, and education are discussed.