Substantiation of sexual abuse allegations and the effects on adolescent socioemotional development and coping behaviors

Johnson, Michelle Deanee'
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Texas Woman's University

The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of substantiated sexual abuse allegations of adolescent children between the ages of 14 and 18 years of age. This study was designed to identify socioemotional differences between adolescent children who had sexual abuse allegations substantiated compared to those children who either did not identify as being a sexual abuse victim or those who did not have their allegations substantiated. An ecological model of development was used to help understand adolescent long-term response, validating the importance of adhering to research based best practices, and guiding effective interventions. This was a quantitative secondary analysis (n =183), using data collected for the nationwide Longitudinal Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN). A MANOVA was used to identify relationships between predictor variables (gender and sexual abuse allegation outcomes) and outcome variables (internalizing, externalizing, total problem scores, total coping scores). Significant findings were found with respect to sexual abuse allegation outcomes and the effects on socioemotional development, specifically for allegation outcomes identified as “inconclusive” as well as for children who had identified as being sexually abused, but who did not have official allegations on record. Internalizing, externalizing, and total problem scores revealed significant differences between groups. Significant findings were found for the interaction between gender and sexual abuse allegation outcomes but not with gender alone. There were no significant findings for total coping scores.

Adolescence, Bronfenbrenner, Child Development, Ecological Systems, Sexual Abuse