Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 599–607

Treatment of Childhood Sexual Abuse: An Updated Review

  • Marissa Cummings
  • Steven J. Berkowitz
  • Philip V. Scribano
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DOI: 10.1007/s11920-012-0316-5

Cite this article as:
Cummings, M., Berkowitz, S.J. & Scribano, P.V. Curr Psychiatry Rep (2012) 14: 599. doi:10.1007/s11920-012-0316-5


Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) involves multiple complex factors that make the evaluation of therapeutic interventions especially complicated. PTSD prevalence rates of CSA are approximately 37 % -53 %. Several other psychiatric sequelae of CSA exist. CSA appears to disrupt brain and body physiology. One co-located service delivery model reported a 52 % linkage rate of CSA survivors with mental health treatment. This article reviews current literature on the treatment of CSA, including psychosocial interventions, pharmacotherapy, and early preventative interventions. It also provides an update on the short- and long-term sequelae of CSA and implications for future research directions. A literature search of papers published in the last 3 years was conducted using the keywords treatment, sexual abuse, childhood, epigenetics, resilience and review, and searching the following databases: PsycInfo, PubMed, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and Centers for Disease Control.


Childhood sex abuseCSAPost-traumatic stress disorderPTSDInterventionTreatmentSexual abuseChildhoodEpigeneticsResilienceReviewFamilyPsychosocial interventionsPharmacotherapyPreventative interventionsPsychiatry

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marissa Cummings
    • 1
  • Steven J. Berkowitz
    • 2
  • Philip V. Scribano
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesChildren’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Penn Center for Youth and Family Trauma Response and Recovery, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Safe Place: Center for Child Protection and Health, Department of Pediatrics, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA