Date: 20 May 2009

Multidimensional Self-Perception of Sexually Abused Girls: Factor Models and Differences Between Sexual Abuse and Comparison Groups

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Abstract

This study investigated the multiple dimensions of self-perception in a sample of sexually abused and nonabused comparison girls (n = 140), with particular attention to self-perception in the scholastic, social, athletic, physical (appearance), and behavioral conduct domains. First, this study examined whether the five dimensions of self-perception were psychologically discrete. Second, the relationships between the self-perception factors and childhood sexual abuse were investigated using structural equation modeling. The results supported the multidimensionality of self-perception and suggested the presence of two distinct second-order self-perception factors: academic- and social-self. While the sexually abused girls indicated less positive perception for the academic-self than the comparison group, the two groups did not differ regarding the social-self. The findings highlight the importance of a multidimensional approach to self-perception in assessing and treating sexually abused children.