College of Arts & Sciences

Date of Award

Spring 5-2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Spencer K. Thompson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gary W. McCullough, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Steve Jenkins, Ed.D.

Abstract

Sexually abused children often develop posttraumatic stress disorder, a distressing and potentially debilitating condition that renders children to feelings of helplessness. Past studies have explored these effects in adults concerning sexual abuse, health issues, war, and natural disaster but not much research has been done for children. This study examined childhood sexual abuse, PTSD, and the relation that exists with self-efficacy. Thirty-nine children, 7 males and 32 females, participated in the study. The ages ranged from age eight through age eighteen, with a mean age of 12.5. Each participant was tested for levels of PTSD, using the Trauma Check list for Children, and for levels of Self-Efficacy, using The General Self-Efficacy. It was found that a negative relation existed between levels of PTSD and Self-Efficacy. Implications from this study were that the effects of sexual abuse and the subsequent development of PTSD have the same negative relation with self-efficacy in children as in adults. It is speculated that there is a need to develop therapeutic approaches to lower levels of PTSD and raise levels of self-efficacy in children.

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