Psychosocial Characteristics and Correlates of Symptom Distress in Nonoffending Mothers of Sexually Abused Children

Esther Deblinger, Christina Russell Hathaway, Julie Lippmann, Robert Steer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

Three groups of nonoffending mothers of sexually abused children were compared on 17 psychosocial characteristics. The groups were composed of 36 (36.4%) mothers of children abused by partners (i.e., incest victims), 30 (30.3%) mothers of children abused by other relatives, and 33 (33.3%) mothers of children abused by nonrelatives. Only physical abuse by a partner differentiated the groups; mothers of children sexually abused by a partner were more likely to report a history of domestic violence than mothers in either of the two other groups. Maternal self-reported symptom distress was measured across all three groups using the SCL-90-R. A multiple-regression analysis of the psychosocial characteristics on the SCL-90-R's Global Severity Index indicated that a mother's perceived aloneness in facing this crisis and a personal history of adult sexual assault were positively related to current symptom distress. The implications of the present findings are discussed with respect to future research and clinical work with nonoffending mothers of sexually abused children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-168
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1993
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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