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Journal Article


Bernard-Bonnin AC, Hebert M, Daignault IV, Allard-Dansereau C. Paediatr. Child Health (1996) 2008; 13(6): 479-486.


Department of Pediatrics, Sainte-Justine UHC, Universite de Montreal.


(Copyright © 2008, Canadian Paediatric Society, Publisher Pulsus Group)








OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to analyze predictive factors of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in school-aged girls. METHODS: A group (n=67) of seven- to 12 year-old girls consulting a paediatric hospital following disclosure of sexual abuse were compared with a group (n=67) of nonabused girls. The girls answered questionnaires related to PTSD, coping, sense of hope, self-esteem, sibling relationships and perceived social support. Mothers answered questionnaires related to family relationships, family violence, perceived support given and psychological distress. RESULTS: The mean +/- SD age of the girls was 9+/-1.5 years. In the sexual abuse group, single-parent families were more frequent (53.7% versus 32.3%; P<0.01), mothers were less educated (10.8% versus 13.1%; P<0.0001) and socioeconomic level was lower (36.8% versus 47.9%; P<0.0001). A history of sexual abuse in childhood was reported by 50% of mothers of sexually abused children and 37% of mothers of the comparison group children. A higher prevalence of PTSD clinical scores was found for the girls reporting sexual abuse (46.3% versus 18.5%; P<0.001). Regression analyses controlling for parental education level and family structure revealed that group membership (sexual abuse group versus comparison group) was predictive of the level of PTSD symptoms. In addition, the mother's level of support, the child's perception of parental support and the child's reliance on avoidance coping predicted PTSD symptoms. Sense of hope and the child witnessing interparental physical violence were marginally associated with the level of PTSD symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: PTSD was common in the present study's sample of sexually abused girls. Because predictive factors relate to both child-related variables and familial context, interventions for this population should target not only the child, but also the family.

Language: en


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