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Adolescent perspectives on social support received in the aftermath of sexual abuse: a qualitative study


Schönbucher, Verena; Maier, Thomas; Mohler-Kuo, Meichun; Schnyder, Ulrich; Landolt, Markus A (2014). Adolescent perspectives on social support received in the aftermath of sexual abuse: a qualitative study. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43(3):571-586.

Abstract

The extent and quality of social support provided to young survivors of sexual abuse (SA) have only rarely been examined. This qualitative study aimed to investigate adolescent perspectives on social support received in the aftermath of SA. A total of 26 sexually victimized adolescents (15-18 years old) participated in a qualitative face-to-face, in-depth interview that focused on perceived social support. Qualitative content analysis was conducted as per Mayring (2008) using the qualitative data analysis program ATLAS.ti. In addition, quantitative correlational analyses were conducted to identify characteristics of SA and their associations with perceived social support. Although participants perceived parental support as the most necessary type of support, they were much more satisfied with support from peers. In particular, adolescents stated that they wished they had received more emotional support from their parents in order to better cope with the abuse. About half of participants reported having received counseling, and counseling was seen as very helpful in dealing with the consequences of SA. Only a few adolescents mentioned their school as a source of support. Intra-familial abuse, younger victim age at the time of abuse, an adult perpetrator, and severe abuse were all negatively associated with satisfaction with perceived support. Our results suggest that support for young survivors of SA needs to be improved. Prevention of SA needs particular focus on improving parental reactions to SA, facilitating access to professional support, and raising teacher awareness of the importance of their role in the provision of support for sexually victimized children.

Abstract

The extent and quality of social support provided to young survivors of sexual abuse (SA) have only rarely been examined. This qualitative study aimed to investigate adolescent perspectives on social support received in the aftermath of SA. A total of 26 sexually victimized adolescents (15-18 years old) participated in a qualitative face-to-face, in-depth interview that focused on perceived social support. Qualitative content analysis was conducted as per Mayring (2008) using the qualitative data analysis program ATLAS.ti. In addition, quantitative correlational analyses were conducted to identify characteristics of SA and their associations with perceived social support. Although participants perceived parental support as the most necessary type of support, they were much more satisfied with support from peers. In particular, adolescents stated that they wished they had received more emotional support from their parents in order to better cope with the abuse. About half of participants reported having received counseling, and counseling was seen as very helpful in dealing with the consequences of SA. Only a few adolescents mentioned their school as a source of support. Intra-familial abuse, younger victim age at the time of abuse, an adult perpetrator, and severe abuse were all negatively associated with satisfaction with perceived support. Our results suggest that support for young survivors of SA needs to be improved. Prevention of SA needs particular focus on improving parental reactions to SA, facilitating access to professional support, and raising teacher awareness of the importance of their role in the provision of support for sexually victimized children.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Klinik für Konsiliarpsychiatrie und Psychosomatik
04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:April 2014
Deposited On:24 Mar 2014 13:47
Last Modified:28 Aug 2017 15:37
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0004-0002
Funders:Optimus Foundation
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-013-0230-x
PubMed ID:24469339

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