College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Forms of Social Support that Moderate PTSD in Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-2003

Keywords

Child Sexual Abuse, Social Support, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Publication Title

Journal of Family Violence

ISSN

0885-7482

Volume

18

Issue/No.

5

Abstract

Although social support has been found to attenuate psychological symptoms in victims of sexual abuse, literature does not identify the specific forms of social support that mitigate maladjustment following a sexual abuse experience. This study sought to distinguish the specific types of perceived social support that buffer the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in victims of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). One hundred and seventy-two adult females reporting CSA were administered the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL) and the Impact of Events Scale (IES). The ISEL measures the perceived availability of 4 support types. The IES measures core PTSD symptoms of intrusion and avoidance. Regression analysis indicated that social support significantly buffered PTSD development. The best model was one which contained self-esteem and appraisal support. Tangible and belonging support added little to prediction. Further, self-esteem support was identified as the most important variable in preventing PTSD development.

DOI

10.1023/A:1025117311660