, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 295-300

Forms of Social Support That Moderate PTSD in Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors

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Although social support has been found to attenuate psychological symptoms in victims of sexual abuse, literature does not identify the specific forms of social support that mitigate maladjustment following a sexual abuse experience. This study sought to distinguish the specific types of perceived social support that buffer the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in victims of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). One hundred and seventy-two adult females reporting CSA were administered the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL) and the Impact of Events Scale (IES). The ISEL measures the perceived availability of 4 support types. The IES measures core PTSD symptoms of intrusion and avoidance. Regression analysis indicated that social support significantly buffered PTSD development. The best model was one which contained self-esteem and appraisal support. Tangible and belonging support added little to prediction. Further, self-esteem support was identified as the most important variable in preventing PTSD development.