Do Parents Blame or Doubt their Child More When Sexually Abused by Adolescents Versus Adults?

Wendy A. Walsh, Theodore P. Cross, Lisa M. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Although the importance of parental support for child sexual abuse victims is well documented, the nature of parental support for victims sexually abused by adolescents is less understood. In this exploratory study, we examine whether parents differ in their levels of blame or doubt for their child when sexually abused by adolescents versus adults. Data included 161 reports of child sexual abuse. Parental blame toward their child was higher when sexually abused by an adolescent versus an adult suspect. In the bivariate and multivariate analysis, parental blame was significantly higher as victim age increased, for Black, non-Hispanic children, and when there was an adolescent suspect. Practitioners need to recognize that high levels of blame and doubt could exist for adolescent victims of sexual abuse and when children are sexually abused by adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-470
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of interpersonal violence
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012

Keywords

  • adolescent sex offender
  • parental blame
  • parental support
  • sexual abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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