Sunday, February 25, 2007

Trauma-related beliefs and resilience

In the general public, physical abuse is likely to occur twice as often as sexual abuse.

Within the foster care system, however, the rate of substantiated allegations of sexual abuse is higher than that of physical abuse.

While there are no significant differences regarding physical abuse or neglect for boys vs. girls in foster care, studies have demonstrated that girls are at greater risk for sexual abuse within the foster care system.

Girls with a history of sexual abuse:
-Experience twice as many placement changes than girls with no history of sexual abuse
-Are more likely to be housed in a group home or residential placement

Trauma-related beliefs related to sexual abuse:
- Self-blame/stigmatization
- Betrayal
- Powerlessness
- Traumatic sexualization

84 women between the ages of 18 - 25 years old participated in a study supported by the Orphan Foundation of America.

65% of participants reported a history of sexual abuse.

Where sexual abuse takes place:
1.) Prior to entering foster care
2.) While in foster care (35% of participants)
3.) In both settings (highest rate of self blame/stigmatization)

Tool utilized in study: Trauma-Related Beliefs Scale, which has been shown to be a reliable measure of beliefs for sexual abuse survivors.

Powerlessness was found to make the most significant impact on the resiliency of foster care alumna. Recovery from sexual abuse is aided by having an internal locus of control. (See previous blog entry on attribution theory).

Breno, Anjey and Galupo, M. Paz. Sexual abuse histories of young women in the U.S. child welfare system: A focus on trauma-related beliefs and resilience, Towson University.


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