Perceived Helpfulness and Engagement in Mental Health Treatment: A Study of Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse
Psychology of Men & Masculinities
ISSN or ISBN
At least 1 in 4 men are sexually abused or assaulted across their lifetime. Although many have significant negative mental health (MH) difficulties, relatively few seek formal MH treatment. This study sought to understand current engagement in and perceived helpfulness of MH treatment in male survivors. Eighty-eight men completed an online survey via a nonprofit organization’s website dedicated to providing support to male survivors. Men who reported that they received MH treatment in the past 90 days endorsed significantly higher adverse childhood experiences, as well as depressive and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, compared with those who had not. Male survivors identified peer support, individual therapy and validation, and specific interventions as most helpful aspects of treatment. The least helpful aspects were therapists’ lack of knowledgeable about male sexual abuse, unhelpful or shaming responses, and avoidance of traumatic material, as well as financial and insurance constraints. Implications for fostering a more supportive, destigmatizing therapeutic environment for male survivors are discussed.
Ellis, A. E.,
Cook, J. A.
(2020). Perceived Helpfulness and Engagement in Mental Health Treatment: A Study of Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse. Psychology of Men & Masculinities, 21(4).
Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cps_facarticles/1876