The influence of childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, family environment, and gender on the psychological adjustment of adolescents.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE The primary aim of the current study was to examine the contributions of sexual abuse, physical abuse, family cohesion, and conflict in predicting the psychological functioning of adolescents. Additional analyses were conducted to determine whether adolescent victims of child sexual abuse and physical abuse perceive their family environments as more conflictual and less cohesive than nonabused adolescents. METHOD Participants were 131 male and female adolescents, ages 16 years to 18 years, receiving services at a residential vocational training program. Participants completed well established psychological assessment tools to assess abuse history, family environment characteristics, and current adjustment. RESULTS Physically abused adolescent females perceived their family environments as more conflictual and less cohesive than females without physical abuse, and sexually abused females perceived their family environments as more conflictual and less cohesive than females without sexual abuse. Physically abused adolescent males reported more conflict than males without physical abuse, but did not differ with regard to cohesion. Adolescent males with and without a sexual abuse history did not differ on the family dimensions. Multiple regression analyses revealed that both conflict and cohesion, in addition to a history of sexual and physical abuse, predicted depression and distress. Separate analyses by gender revealed these variables differentially impact adjustment in male and female adolescents. Results of a power analysis indicated sufficient power to detect these differences. CONCLUSIONS Findings indicate that in addition to child sexual abuse and physical abuse, family conflict and cohesion are risk factors for the development of psychological distress and depression in adolescence. Implications for treatment and directions for future research are discussed.

Statistics

0102030'04'05'06'07'08'09'10'11'12'13'14'15'16'17
Citations per Year

58 Citations

Semantic Scholar estimates that this publication has 58 citations based on the available data.

See our FAQ for additional information.

Cite this paper

@article{Meyerson2002TheIO, title={The influence of childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, family environment, and gender on the psychological adjustment of adolescents.}, author={Lori A. Meyerson and Patricia J. Long and Robert N Miranda and Brian P Marx}, journal={Child abuse & neglect}, year={2002}, volume={26 4}, pages={387-405} }