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Parallel group treatment for sexually abused children and their nonoffending parents: An examination of treatment integrity and child and family outcome and satisfaction

Eugenia Hsu, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation describes an examination of Project SAFE (Sexual Abuse Family Education), a parallel group treatment for 57 sexually abused children and their 55 nonoffending parents. The 12-session intervention addressed three target areas impacted by sexual abuse: the individual or self; relationships; and sexual knowledge and abuse related issues. A program evaluation of Project SAFE was conducted by examining treatment integrity, child and family outcome, and social validity. Results indicated strong integrity ratings showing that therapists adhered well to the treatment protocols. Strong inter-rater agreement was also established. Post-treatment improvements were found in child behavior and functioning. Parents reported a reduction in child emotional and behavioral symptoms and children reported less anxiety, less post-traumatic stress symptoms, less maladaptive abuse attributions, less negative perceptions of social reactions, and increased basic sexual knowledge after treatment. In general, treatment gains were maintained 3 months after completion of treatment. Subjective evaluations revealed that the treatment goals, procedures, and outcomes were acceptable, relevant, and helpful to the families. ^ Preliminary data were also provided about groups within this population differentiated on treatment completion and child symptomatology. Regarding treatment completion, the only demographic variable that was significant between the two groups was the parent's age such that caregivers who completed treatment were older in age than those who did not participate or terminated treatment prematurely. Results from the child's self-report of initial symptoms also showed that children who completed treatment exhibited better sexual knowledge, less feelings of loneliness, poorer attitudes about themselves, and more maladaptive thoughts and feelings about what has happened to themselves compared to children who did not complete treatment. Regarding child symptomatology, results showed that neither demographic nor abuse information was associated with children's reports of symptom severity, and only the nature of the abuse was associated with parental reports of children's symptom severity. Lastly, limitations of this dissertation and future directions were described. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Hsu, Eugenia, "Parallel group treatment for sexually abused children and their nonoffending parents: An examination of treatment integrity and child and family outcome and satisfaction" (2003). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3092555.