Sexual abuse: Developmental differences in children's behavior and self-perception
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
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AbstractDevelopmental differences in behavior and self-perception were examined in a group of 44 preschool and school-age children referred for evaluation of sexual abuse and 41 comparison children with no history of sexual abuse, matched on age and gender, and from a similar socioeconomic background. Children suspected of having been sexually abused were rated by their parents as having more internalizing and externalizing problems than comparison children. When children rated their self-competence and social acceptance, there were no group differences between children based on their abuse status; however, there was significant within-group variation among the children suspected of having been sexually abused. Preschool children had elevated scores of perceived competence and social acceptance, and school-age children had depressed scores. There were no age differences among the children in the comparison group. The results suggest that among children suspected of abuse, not only does their self-perception vary by their developmental level, but preschool children may respond with elevated perceptions of themselves. Focusing on individual differences in children's response to suspicions of sexual abuse enables us to identify risk and protective factors that contribute to the psychological outcomes of child sexual abuse.
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttps://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?eid=2-s2.0-0027952696&doi=10.1016%2f0145-2134%2894%2990098-1&partnerID=40&md5=8e30617d17934920b0fb0aca877ddd06; http://hdl.handle.net/10713/11935
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