Experiences of Mothers Who Are Child Sexual Abuse Survivors: A Qualitative Exploration JOURNAL OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE Cavanaugh, C. E., Harper, B., Classen, C. C., Palesh, O., Koopman, C., Spiegel, D. 2015; 24 (5): 506-525


Child sexual abuse has been associated with a number of problems affecting women over their lifespan, including difficulties with parenting. However, there is a modest number of qualitative studies examining the impact of child sexual abuse on survivors who are mothers. There is a particular need for qualitative investigations that ask survivors who are mothers general questions about the impact of child sexual abuse on their lives rather than those that specifically ask about the impact of child sexual abuse on parenting. The former approach would allow survivors to describe effects that may impact parenting but that survivors do not consciously link to affecting their parenting. Such information may inform interventions to assist this population of survivors. This secondary data analysis examined themes revealed in interviews with 44 survivors of child sexual abuse who were mothers. Participants were seeking treatment for their child sexual abuse and completed an in-person interview in which they were asked open-ended questions about the sexual abuse they experienced as a child and how their abuse affects them now as adults. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded using thematic analysis. The following six themes emerged from the narratives: (a) being a parent, (b) family of origin dysfunction, (c) the impact of abuse, (d) the abuse history and response to abuse, (e) coping, and (f) hopes and desires for the future. This study highlights several ways in which child sexual abuse impacts survivors who are mothers, areas for further study, and the need for interventions to assist this population in meeting the challenges they face as mothers.

View details for DOI 10.1080/10538712.2015.1042186

View details for Web of Science ID 000360454900004