Sexual behavior problems in sexually abused children: a preliminary typology.

Abstract:

OBJECTIVE:The goal was to develop an empirically derived typology for sexually abused children exhibiting sexual behavior problems to assist practitioners in differential assessment, treatment, and case planning. METHOD:Data were systematically gathered from the clinical records of 100 sexually abused children, aged 3 years to 7 years, enrolled in two treatment programs. Twelve indexes were created corresponding to major areas of child and family history, functioning, and treatment response. After initial sorting into subgroups based on the presence or absence of interpersonal sexual behavior problems, further subdivision was based on hierarchical cluster analysis. RESULTS:Five distinctive sexual behavior profiles emerged: (1) developmentally expected; and developmentally problematic (2) interpersonal, unplanned, (3) self-focused, (4) interpersonal, planned (noncoercive), and (5) interpersonal, planned (coercive). Elements of the child's sexual abuse experience, opportunities to learn/practice problematic sexual behavior, and familial variables best differentiated between the types. CONCLUSIONS:The five types differed not only in child sexual behavior but in most areas of child and family functioning, including treatment outcome. The findings offer support for the development of an empirically-based typology for children with sexual behavior problems utilizing a range of variables which go beyond typical classification systems based on offender and victim characteristics.

journal_name

Child Abuse Negl

journal_title

Child abuse & neglect

authors

Hall DK,Mathews F,Pearce J

doi

10.1016/s0145-2134(01)00326-x

keywords:

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2002-03-01 00:00:00

pages

289-312

issue

3

eissn

0145-2134

issn

1873-7757

pii

S0145-2134(01)00326-X

journal_volume

26

pub_type

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