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J Psychol. 2001 Jan;135(1):17-36.

A meta-analysis of the published research on the effects of child sexual abuse.

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  • 1National Foundation for Family Research and Education, Calgary, Canada. eoddone@acs.ucalgary.ca

Abstract

A meta-analysis of the published research on the effects of child sexual abuse (CSA) was undertaken for 6 outcomes: posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, suicide, sexual promiscuity, victim-perpetrator cycle, and poor academic performance. Thirty-seven studies published between 1981 and 1995 involving 25,367 people were included. Many of the studies were published in 1994 (24; 65%), and most were done in the United States (22; 59%). All six dependent variables were coded, and effect sizes (d) were computed for each outcome. Average unweighted and weighted ds for each of the respective outcome variables were .50 and .40 for PTSD, .63 and .44 for depression, .64 and .44 for suicide, .59 and .29 for sexual promiscuity, .41 and .16 for victim-perpetrator cycle, and .24 and .19 for academic performance. A file drawer analysis indicated that 277 studies with null ds would be required to negate the present findings. The analyses provide clear evidence confirming the link between CSA and subsequent negative short- and long-term effects on development. There were no statistically significant differences on ds when various potentially mediating variables such as gender, socioeconomic status, type of abuse, age when abused, relationship to perpetrator, and number of abuse incidents were assessed. The results of the present meta-analysis support the multifaceted model of traumatization rather than a specific sexual abuse syndrome of CSA.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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