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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1996 Oct;35(10):1402-10.

Factors that mediate treatment outcome of sexually abused preschool children.

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  • 1Medical College of Pennsylvania, USA.



The role of demographic, developmental, and familial mediating factors on treatment outcome of sexually abused preschool children was evaluated.


Sixty-seven sexually abused preschool children and their parents were evaluated shortly after disclosure of sexual abuse and then were provided with one of two treatment interventions. At the completion of treatment, the parents and their children were reevaluated. Parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist, the Child Sexual Behavior Inventory, and the Weekly Behavior Report to measure a variety of emotional and behavioral symptoms in children. Parents also completed the Beck Depression Inventory, the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale-III, the Parent Emotional Reaction Questionnaire, the Parental Support Questionnaire, and the Maternal Social Support Index. Children completed the Preschool Symptom Self-Report to assess self-reported affective symptoms and the Battelle Developmental Inventory and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test to assess developmental level.


Correlational analyses were conducted to analyze the relationships between the hypothesized mediating variables and the outcome measures at posttreatment across the two treatment groups. Multiple regression analyses were also performed. Both parental depression and parental emotional distress correlated significantly with several of the child outcome measures. Battelle scores were significantly negatively correlated with several outcome measures. Multiple regression analyses demonstrated that the Parent Emotional Reaction Questionnaire remained a highly significant predictor of treatment outcome.


The findings indicate a strong correlation between parental emotional distress related to the abuse and treatment outcome in sexually abused preschool children, independent of the type of treatment provided. The findings indicate the importance of addressing parental distress related to the abuse in providing effective treatment to sexually abused preschool children.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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