Effects of the Severity of Child Sexual Abuse and Perpetrator Relationship on College Females' Self-esteem

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Casterline, Kristina
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Middle Tennessee State University
Child sexual abuse (CSA), perpetrator characteristics and self-esteem were studied using an extant data set comprised of a subsample of 177 college females. It was hypothesized that there would be a difference in the severity of CSA based on the identity of the perpetrators (i.e., other children, adults, or both children and adults) and the perpetrator relationship to the victim. Results indicated that the CSA was more severe among children who were abused by both a child and an adult. No significant results were found regarding the relationship of the perpetrator to the victim. The second hypothesis sought to determine if there were differences in CSA victims' levels of self-esteem based on perpetrator identity and relationship to the victim. No differences were found in levels of self-esteem based on identity of perpetrator or relationship to the victim. Attachment theory was used to discuss the effects of CSA on victims.