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Journal Article

Citation

Alaggia R. J. Can. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry 2010; 19(1): 32-39.

Affiliation

Associate Professor, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, Chair in Children's Mental Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2010, Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)

DOI

unavailable

PMID

20119565

PMCID

PMC2809444

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Research continues to indicate a concerning number of children and youth, between 60-80%, withhold disclosure until adulthood suggesting that many children endure prolonged victimization or never receive necessary intervention. The study aim was to qualitatively identify factors that impede or promote child sexual abuse (CSA) disclosure. METHODS: Using a phenomenological design, forty adult survivors of CSA were interviewed about their disclosure experiences to provide retrospective accounts of their childhood and adolescent abuse experiences, disclosure attempts, and meaning-making of these experiences. RESULTS: Findings show that disclosure is multiply determined by a complex interplay of factors related to child characteristics, family environment, community influences, and cultural and societal attitudes. An ecological analysis is offered to understand these complexities. Unless barriers to disclosure are eradicated, negative effects of CSA can persist manifesting in serious mental health issues. CONCLUSIONS: Practitioners can expect to work with children, adolescents and adults who have withheld disclosure or attempted to tell over time having experienced a wide range of responses. Multi-level intervention is recommended at the individual, community and macro-levels. Future investigations should focus on how to identify and measure the impact of community and macro level factors on disclosure, aspects that have received much less attention.


Language: en

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