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01-02-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 2/2015

Journal of Child and Family Studies 2/2015

Exploring the Link Between Child Sexual Abuse and Sexually Intrusive Behaviors: The Moderating Role of Caregiver Discipline Strategy

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 2/2015
Auteurs:
Natasha E. Latzman, Robert D. Latzman

Abstract

Although it has been well documented that children who experience child sexual abuse (CSA) are at increased risk for developing sexually intrusive behaviors (SIB), there is considerable heterogeneity in symptom presentation. With the aim of elucidating potential moderating factors that both exacerbate and attenuate outcomes following CSA, the current study investigated caregiver discipline strategy as one potential factor that may moderate the relationship between CSA and SIB. Participants included 986 eight-year-old children (51.4 % female) drawn from the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect consortium. Child maltreatment histories were collected every 2 years starting at age 4, and caregiver discipline strategies and SIB were assessed at age 8. Results confirm the lack of a simple pathway between CSA and SIB and indicate that caregiver discipline strategy may represent a unique moderator for both exacerbating and attenuating risk for SIB following CSA. Specifically, for girls with a history of CSA, caregiver use of adaptive discipline resulted in lower levels of SIB, whereas caregiver use of physical discipline resulted in higher levels of SIB. The present study contributes to the ongoing discourse regarding the treatment of children who have experienced CSA and etiological pathways associated with the development of SIB.

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