Faculty Articles

Title

Perceived Helpfulness and Engagement in Mental Health Treatment: A Study of Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2020

Publication Title

Psychology of Men & Masculinities

ISSN or ISBN

1939-151X

Volume

21

Issue/Number

4

Abstract/Excerpt

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.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1037/men0000313

Peer Reviewed

Share

COinS