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Coping and resilience amongst men sexually abused in childhood

Coping and resilience amongst men sexually abused in childhood

Coping strategies of men who were sexually abused in childhood were examined to ascertain their relationship to clinical diagnoses. A primary sample of 147 Australian men was recruited from agencies and self help groups who support adults who were sexually abused in childhood. Coping strategies influenced the possibility of being classified as clinical or non-clinical.

The most important strategies associated with better functioning were positive reinterpretation and growth and seeking instrumental social support. whereas strategies that were more associated with a clinical outcome were themed around internalization, acceptance and disengagement.

The sample of men who were sexually abused in childhood was up to ten times more likely to be classified as ‘clinical’ then the sample of community men. Men who have been sexually abused in childhood are more likely to have clinical diagnoses but coping strategies may play an important part in this outcome. Seeking active assistance appears to be important coping strategy in reframing the experience, however, the timing of this help seeking is not critical.

To help contextualise these findings open-ended interviews with men were conducted to explore subjective meanings associated with quantitative findings. Coping strategies that focus on internalization or disengagement are potentially damaging to the men’s long-term psychologicalfunctioning. lmportantly there are coping strategies that appear to have a moderating effect on clinical diagnoses. Focus needs to be given to support services to male victims that provide practical strategies and allow for cognitive reframing to assist men to see their strength and positive growth.

Conference: Demo
Areas of Interest / Categories: Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse

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