Recently, increasing research and clinical attention has been directed toward the concerns of adult female survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Nonetheless, the relationship partners of these individuals have been largely overlooked in the trauma literature. It has been suggested that partners represent "secondary victims" who may experience significant distress as a result of their vicarious encounter with the trauma sustained by the primary survivor. These speculations, however, have been based almost exclusively on informal clinical observations, predominantly of males as adjunct participants in the therapy of female partners who have been raped in adulthood after their relationships with their partners were already established. Given these deficits, the present qualitative study investigated the perceived impact of the child sexual abuse experienced by female primary survivors on their current relationship partners.
Six female survivors and their corresponding relationship partners participated in individual interviews of approximately 2 hours duration, during which they were asked to share their perceptions of the sequelae of the childhood sexual abuse on the partners as secondary survivors. Transcribed data were analysed using the open and axial coding procedures of Strauss and Corbin's (1990) grounded theory method. Results consisted of emergent themes outlining the potential affective, cognitive, self-perceptual, somatic, sexual, academic/career, and social sequelae that may be encountered by the adult relationship partners of women who were sexually abused in childhood.
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Nova Science Publishers Inc
Publisher: Nova Science Publishers Inc
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