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Child Abuse Negl. 1991;15(1-2):99-104.

Depression in mothers of sexually abused vs. mothers of nonabused children.

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  • Department of Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg.


A total of 104 mothers whose children were receiving a psychological evaluation at a university outpatient clinic completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) as part of their child's evaluation. Of these, 32 (31%) mothers were seeking treatment for children who were victims of intrafamilial sexual abuse, 26 (25%) were requesting help for child victims of extrafamilial sexual abuse, and 46 (44%) were seeking counseling services for nonabused children who were exhibiting a variety of common childhood problems. Although there was no significant group difference for BDI raw scores or BDI score categories (i.e., Normal Functioning, Moderate Depression, Moderate-Severe Depression, Extremely Severe Depression), results revealed that 16 (50%) of the intrafamilial abuse mothers, 18 (69%) of the extrafamilial mothers, and 23 (50%) of the mothers of nonabused children reported experiencing at least a moderate degree of depression. Results are discussed relative to their clinical significance, and recommendations are provided for future research with mothers of sexually abused children.

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