Honors Program


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Nelson, A. 2019. Understanding Fear and Self-Blame Symptoms for Child Sexual Abuse Victims in Treatment: An Interaction of Youth Age, Perpetrator Type, and Treatment Time Period. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Amanda Nelson 2019.


Child Sexual Abuse victims have been known to experience a wide array of emotional and behavioral symptomology following abuse. These symptoms can have a negative impact on victims in the future if proper intervention and treatment is not provided. This study focuses specifically on the symptomology of fear and self-blame in victims and what factors influence the efficacy of treatment due to these symptoms’ continuous and impartial characteristics. Participants were 333 sexually abused youth attending Project SAFE (Sexual Abuse Family Education), a cognitive-behavioral treatment program through a local Child Advocacy Center. Children were 6 to 18 years old, 79.9% female, and 71.8% European American. A repeated measures analysis was performed looking at the interaction between treatment time period (pre-treatment, midpoint-treatment, and post-treatment), victim age at the start of treatment (child vs. adolescent), and perpetrator type (family vs. non-family). The main effect of treatment time period was found to be significant for fear scores and self-blame/guilt scores. This indicates that, regardless of a child’s CSA perpetrator or their age, the treatment is still beneficial at reducing symptoms of fear and self-blame/guilt.

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