TitleThe role of the mother-child relationship in child sexual abuse
NameMartinez, Colleen Daly (author), Baer, Judith (chair), Huang, Chien-Chung (internal member), Simmel, Cassandra (internal member), Siegel, Harold (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Child sexual abuse,
Mother and child
DescriptionSexual abuse effects many children, and often has negative psychological and behavioral outcomes associated with it. Studies of sexual abuse often to point to the mother as an important factor in risk for sexual abuse, as well as in disclosure and long-term recovery after sexual abuse. This study examines a model of risk for sexual abuse within an attachment framework, in order to determine if maternal sensitivity may be an important factor. This secondary analysis uses the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Wellbeing (NSCAW) Data, a nationally representative sample of children involved with child protective services (CPS) in the United States. 665 children ages 6-9.11 who were involved with CPS and living with their biological mothers at the time of data collection were the subjects of this cross-sectional study. Maternal variables including sensitivity as measured by items from the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME) Inventory and child's sexual abuse status were examined using structural equation modeling. Factor analysis was employed to assess the validity of the maternal sensitivity construct. Structural regression analysis was used to test the predictive hypotheses. The model was compared between genders. Low maternal sensitivity was hypothesized to have a positive association with child sexual abuse. Other maternal variables, including drug dependence, alcohol dependence, and poor mental health were hypothesized to have positive associations with low maternal sensitivity and sexual abuse status. Few of the hypothesized relationships were found, and the direction of some of the findings was opposite what was hypothesized. However, some of the hypothesized relationships were found and implications for practice and future research on risk for child sexual abuse are outlined. Maternal drug dependence was related to lower maternal sensitivity, and may be a particularly important risk factor for sexual abuse of boys. Maternal youth may be an important risk factor for sexual abuse of girls. Researchers are encouraged to examine direct, indirect, and total effects in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the relationships between variables. Additionally, researchers should examine risk for sexual abuse separately for boys and girls, as the dynamics may be different.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 119-129)
Noteby Colleen Daly Martinez
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.