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Child Abuse Negl. 2001 Mar;25(3):347-55.

Guilt, isolation and hopelessness among female survivors of childhood sexual abuse: effectiveness of group work intervention.

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  • 1School of Social Work, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.



This study explores the effects of group work intervention on female survivors' senses of guiltlessness, affiliation and hopefulness.


Secondary comparative analyses of a large quasi-experiment-based clinical data base were accomplished (Richter, Snider, & Gorey): group work intervention (N = 78) and a waiting-list condition (N = 80).


Group work was found to have beneficial effects on adult female survivors' appropriate sense of guiltlessness for their childhood sexual abuse, as well as on their sense of affiliation and hopefulness. Consistent across the three outcome measures of guilt/guiltlessness, isolation/affiliation and hopelessness/hopefulness, 16 to 18 of every 20 such women who participated in group work did better than the average woman in the waiting-list comparison group. Moreover, these apparent clinical benefits were maintained for 6 months (all p < .01).


Such effects may be characterized as very large, and are generally larger than those previously observed in this field of practice that have typically been based on more general measures of depression, self-esteem or global symptoms.

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