In a group of intact families, we examined the rates and parameters of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse in 35 women with borderline personality disorder (BPD), 34 women with anorexia nervosa (AN), and 33 women without a clinical history (NC); their experience of multiple abuse and its correlation with their SCL-90-R scores; and their reports of abuse of their siblings. Corroboration of abuse was obtained from some parents in each group. Women with BPD suffered more intrafamilial verbal and physical abuse. Whereas AN and NC women experienced relatively rare single events of extrafamilial sexual abuse at an older age, those with BPD suffered repeated intrafamilial sexual abuse at a younger age and also suffered more multiple abuse. All multiply abused women had more psychopathology. Siblings were reported abused in the same proportions as subjects; many parents of BPDs corroborated their daughters' reports of all three forms of abuse.
This article describes the management of an extensive case of sexual abuse in a small Norwegian community. The victims were adult men who had been exploited in childhood and adolescence by the same abuser. A demand for support was addressed to the health services when these men realised as adults that they shared this experience. The community health service and the psychiatric department decided to arrange psycho-educative meetings in the community centre. Victims, their families and local professional helpers were invited. The meetings gave general information about sexual abuse, early and late symptoms and the treatment facilities available locally. In one facility a psychiatrist and a general practitioner led a treatment group together. Five of the victims took part in this group. Fortunately, this case never reached the public press. Cooperation between specialist and community health services in managing such cases is regarded as essential.
Sampling methodology (e.g. population-based vs. clinical samples, anonymous self-reports vs. data collected as part of mandated treatment) affects the validity of conclusions drawn from research addressing the etiology of adolescent sexual offending. Studies of unselected samples allow testing of the generalizability of etiological models suggested from investigation of selected clinical or forensic populations. Further, representative epidemiological data on adolescent sexual offending is needed for policy-making and the planning of services. We conducted a national survey of all adolescent sexual offenders (ASOs, 12-17 years) referred to Social Services during 2000. Social workers at all child and adolescent units in Social Service authorities throughout Sweden (N=285, 99% response rate) completed a questionnaire about new ASO referrals in 2000. The National Board of Health and Welfare commissioned the survey and questionnaire items tapped offender, offence, and victim characteristics. A total of 197 boys and 2 girls aged 12-17 years were referred to Social Services because of sexually abusive behavior in 2000. Focusing specifically on males, this yielded a one-year incidence of .060% (95% confidence interval = .052-.068). Forty-six percent of male ASOs abused at least one child younger than age 12 years (child offenders) whereas the rest had abused peer or adult victims (peer offenders). Forty-two percent of male ASOs had ever committed sexual offences together with at least one other offender (group offenders). Child- vs. peer offenders and group vs. single offenders, suggested typologies in the literature, were compared to explore potential subtype-specific risk factors and correlates. The results suggested a higher proportion of group ASOs than previously reported and stronger support for subdividing ASOs into child vs. peer offenders than into group vs. single ASOs.
The aim of this study was to determine whether reports made by adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse about attributions of blame made during childhood and adulthood are predictive of overall adulthood symptomatology and presence of suicide attempts.
126 female survivors of childhood sexual abuse completed anonymous survey packages which included a modified version of the Attributional Style Questionnaire, the Trauma Symptom Checklist-40, and questions regarding demographics and abuse characteristics.
The study revealed that participants reporting abuse by an immediate family member and abuse before 10 years of age tended to report having made internal attributions of blame when they were children. In addition, reports of internal attributions of blame made during childhood were significantly predictive of overall adulthood symptomatology, as well as presence of suicide attempts. Reported adulthood attributions did not contribute to prediction.
The clinical implications of further evidence of the link between attributions and outcome following childhood sexual abuse including the need for identification and intervention to address internal attributions made during childhood are discussed.
Three groups of subjects (N = 95) consisting or rapists, child molesters, and a comparison group of violent offenders were examined with reference to history of alcohol abuse, history of drug abuse, intimacy deficits, and emotionally based coping strategies. No differences were found between the two groups of sex offenders on any of the measures examined. Sex offenders were found to be significantly older than the comparison group. When age was entered as a covariate sex offenders were found to have significantly more difficulties with alcohol use as measured by the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST) and were significantly more likely to use emotionally based coping strategies as measured by the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS). No differences were found between any of the groups with reference to drug abuse as measured by the Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST). Results are discussed in terms of Marshall's theory of intimacy deficits in sexual offenders.
This randomized prospective study examines durability of improvement in general symptomatology, psychosocial functioning and interpersonal problems, and compares the long-term efficacy of analytic and systemic group psychotherapy in women 1 year after completion of treatment for childhood sexual abuse.
Women (n = 106) randomly assigned to analytic or systemic psychotherapy completed the Symptom Checklist-90-R, Global Assessment of Functioning, Global Life Quality, Registration Chart Questionnaire, and Flashback Registration at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and at a 1-year follow-up.
Post-treatment gains were significant for both treatment modalities on all measures, but significantly larger after systemic therapy. Significant treatment response was maintained 1-year post-treatment, but different trajectories were observed: 1 year after treatment completion, improvements for analytic therapy were maintained, whereas they decreased after systemic therapy, resulting in no statistically significant difference in gains between the groups at the 1-year follow-up. Despite maintaining significant gains, more than half of the patients remained above cut-off for caseness concerning general symptomatology at post-treatment and at 1-year follow-up.
The findings stress the importance of long-term follow-up data in effect studies. Different trajectories were associated with the two treatments, but improvement in the two treatment groups did not differ significantly at the 1-year follow-up. Implications of the difference in trajectories for treatment planning are discussed.
Both analytic and systemic group therapy proved efficient in improving general symptomatology, psychosocial functioning, and interpersonal problems in women with a history of CSA and gains were maintained at a 1-year follow-up. Despite maintaining statistically significant gains at the 1-year follow-up, 54% of the patients remained above the cut-off for caseness with respect to general symptomatology, which may indicate a need for further treatment. Different pre-post follow-up treatment trajectories were observed between the two treatment modalities. Thus, while systemic group therapy showed a significantly better outcome immediately after termination, gains in the systemic treatment group decreased during follow-up, while gains were maintained during follow-up in analytic group therapy.
This study examined the relationship patterns of N = 20 child molesters (CM) using the Core Conflictual Relationship Theme (CCRT) method. The relationship patterns of the CMs were compared with those of a control group of N = 20 subjects from an out patient counseling service. Results showed that CMs had significantly less wish to be controlled, hurt, and not responsible than the control group. No significant difference was found between both groups for the CCRT response of other component (RO). For the response of self (RS) component, results indicated that CMs reported more relationship episodes in which they felt respected and accepted and self-controlled and self-confident. The authors suggest that these interactions could be indicators of the CMs'attempts to attribute blame to others and present themselves as victims. It is also suggested that CMs may have core issues involving autonomy and control.
Traumatic or stressful life events have long been hypothesized to play a role in causing or precipitating obsessive-compulsive symptoms but the impact of these environmental factors has rarely been investigated using genetically informative designs. We tested whether a wide range of retrospectively-reported stressful life events (SLEs) influence the lifetime presence and severity of obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) in a large Swedish population-based cohort of 22,084 twins. Multiple regression models examined whether differences in SLEs within twin pairs were significantly associated with differences in OCS. In the entire sample (i.e., both monozygotic [MZ] and dizygotic twin pairs), two SLEs factors, "abuse and family disruption" and "sexual abuse", were significantly associated with the severity of OCS even after controlling for depressive symptoms. Other SLEs factors were either not associated with OCS ("loss", "non-sexual assault") or were no longer associated with OCS after controlling for depression ("illness/injury"). Within MZ pair analyses, which effectively control for genetic and shared environmental effects, showed that only the "abuse and family disruption" factor remained independently related to within-pair differences in OCS severity, even after controlling for depressive symptoms. Despite being statistically significant, the magnitude of the associations was small; "abuse and family disruption" explained approximately 3% of the variance in OCS severity. We conclude that OCS are selectively associated with certain types of stressful life events. In particular, a history of interpersonal abuse, neglect and family disruption may make a modest but significant contribution to the severity of OCS. Further replication in longitudinal cohorts is essential before causality can be firmly established.
To examine whether depressed mood and anger mediate the effects of sexual abuse and family conflict/violence on self-injurious behavior and substance use.
A cross-sectional national survey was conducted including 9,085 16-19 year old students attending all high schools in Iceland in 2004. Participants reported frequency of sexual abuse, family conflict/violence, self-injurious behavior, substance use, depressed mood, and anger.
Sexual abuse and family conflict/violence had direct effects on self-injurious behavior and substance use among both genders, when controlling for age, family structure, parental education, anger, and depressed mood. More importantly, the indirect effects of sexual abuse and family conflict/violence on self-injurious behavior among both males and females were twice as strong through depressed mood as through anger, while the indirect effects of sexual abuse and family conflict/violence on substance use were only significant through anger.
These results indicate that in cases of sexual abuse and family conflict/violence, substance use is similar to externalizing behavior, where anger seems to be a key mediating variable, opposed to internalizing behavior such as self-injurious behavior, where depressed mood is a more critical mediator.
Practical implications highlight the importance of focusing on a range of emotions, including depressed mood and anger, when working with stressed adolescents in prevention and treatment programs for self-injurious behavior and substance use.