Impact of Child Sexual Abuse. A Review of the Research
This article reviews studies that have tried to confirm empirically the effects of child sexual abuse cited in the clinical literature. In regard to initial effects, empirical studies have indicated reactions-in at least some portion of the victim population-of fear, anxiety, depression, anger and hostility, aggression, and sexually inappropriate behavior. Frequently reported long-term effects include depression and self-destructive behavior, anxiety, feelings of isolation and stigma, poor self-esteem, difficulty in trusting others, a tendency toward revictimization, substance abuse, and sexual maladjustment. The kinds of abuse that appear to be most damaging, according to the empirical studies, are experiences involving father figures, genital contact, and force. The controversy over the impact of child sexual abuse is discussed, and recommendations for future research efforts are suggested.
American Psychological Association
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Browne, A., Finkelhor, D. Impact of Child Sexual Abuse. A Review of the Research. (1986) Psychological Bulletin, 99 (1), pp. 66-77.
© 1986 American Psychological Association.