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Child Abuse Negl. 2005 Jul;29(7):767-782.

Gender differences in social reactions to abuse disclosures, post-abuse coping, and PTSD of child sexual abuse survivors.

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  • 1Department of Criminal Justice(M/C 141), University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607-7140, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This research examines the understudied issue of gender differences in disclosure, social reactions, post-abuse coping, and PTSD of adult survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA).

METHOD:

Data were collected on a cross-sectional convenience sample of 733 college students completing a confidential survey about their demographic characteristics, sexual abuse experiences, disclosure characteristics, post-abuse coping, and social reactions from others.

RESULTS:

Female students reported greater prevalence and severity of CSA, more distress and self-blame immediately post-assault, and greater reliance on coping strategies of withdrawal and trying to forget than male students. Women were more likely to have disclosed their abuse to others, to have received positive reactions, and to report greater PTSD symptom severity, but were no more likely to receive negative reactions upon disclosure than men. Women delaying disclosure had greater PTSD symptom severity, whereas men's symptoms did not vary by timing of disclosure. Additional regression analyses examined predictors of PTSD symptom severity and negative and positive social reactions to abuse disclosures.

CONCLUSIONS:

Several gender differences were observed in this sample of college students in terms of sexual abuse experiences, psychological symptoms, coping, PTSD, and some aspects of disclosure and social reactions from others.

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