Advertisement

They Don’t Listen: A Qualitative Interpretive Meta-synthesis of Children’s Sexual Abuse

  • Jennifer Watkins-Kagebein
  • Tracey Marie BarnettEmail author
  • Shannon Collier-Tenison
  • Joan Blakey
Article

Abstract

Although the literature is copious with studies using qualitative methodology to retrospectively explore issues related to child sexual abuse (CSA) from the adult’s perspective, there is a dearth of qualitative literature regarding the child’s perception of sexual abuse. The purpose of this qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis (QIMS) is to inform practice and research to understand how children make sense of sexual abuse, the factors that influence their disclosure experiences, and coping methods used after disclosure. The QIMS included studies from various disciplines, including psychology, sociology, social work and medicine, to understand the experiences of childhood victims of sexual abuse. Three themes and five subthemes emerged: (1) phases of CSA: (a) initial onset of symptoms, (b) maladaptive coping, and (c) paralyzing fear; (2) types of disclosure: (a) healthy disclosure and healing and (b) destructive disclosure, and; (3) traumatizing “helping” process for CSA victims. In an effort to reduce negative outcomes associated with CSA, it is imperative to explore one’s perception of sexual abuse while still a child to inform prevention and intervention efforts of their specific understanding of the experience.

Keywords

Qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis Children Childhood Sexual abuse 

Notes

Funding

This study was not funded.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Author A declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author B declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author C declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author D declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

References

  1. Abajobir, A. A., Kisely, S., Maravilla, J. C., Williams, G., & Najman, J. M. (2017). Gender differences in the association between childhood sexual abuse and risky sexual behaviours: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Child Abuse and Neglect, 63, 249–260.Google Scholar
  2. Aguirre, R. T. P., & Bolton, K. (2013). Why do they do it?: A Qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis of volunteer motivation in high-stress volunteer situations. Social Work Research, 37, 1–12.  https://doi.org/10.1093/swr/svt035.Google Scholar
  3. Aguirre, R. T., & Bolton, K. W. (2014). Qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis in social work research: Uncharted territory. Journal of Social Work, 14(3), 279–294.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1468017313476797.Google Scholar
  4. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). (2012). Facts for families: Child sexual abuse. Retrieved from, http://www.aacap.org/App_Themes/AACAP/docs/facts_for_families/09_child_sexual_abuse.pdf
  5. Barnett, T. M., & Praetorius, R. T. (2015). Knowledge is (not) power: Healthy eating and physical activity for African-American women. Social Work in Health Care, 54(4), 365–382.Google Scholar
  6. Bowers, P. H. (2013). Community based participatory research and youth tobacco control: A qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis. Perspectives on Social Work, 9(2), 58–71.Google Scholar
  7. Capella, C., Lama, X., Rodríguez, L., Águila, D., Beiza, G., Dussert, D., & Gutierrez, C. (2016). Winning a race: Narratives of healing and psychotherapy in children and adolescents who have been sexually abused. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 25(1), 73–92.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10538712.2015.1088915.Google Scholar
  8. Collin-Vézina, D., Daigneault, I., & Hébert, M. (2013). Lessons learned from child sexual abuse research: Prevalence, outcomes, and preventive strategies. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 7(1), 22–30.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1753-2000-7-22.Google Scholar
  9. Connolly, J., Heifetz, M., & Bohr, Y. (2012). Pregnancy and motherhood among adolescent girls in child protective services: A meta-synthesis of qualitative research. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 6(5), 614–635.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15548732.2012.723970.Google Scholar
  10. Corcoran, J., Brown, E., Davis, M., Pineda, M., Kadolph, J., & Bell, H. (2013). Depression in older adults: A meta-synthesis. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 56(6), 509–534.  https://doi.org/10.1080/01634372.2013.811144.Google Scholar
  11. Covington, S. S. (2007). Women and the criminal justice system. Women’s Health Issues, 17(4), 180–182.Google Scholar
  12. Cowan, M. B. M. (Feburary 2013). Children in the courtroom: Essential strategies for effective testimony by child victims of sexual assault. Army Law, Department of the Army Pamphlet 27-50-477, 4-16.Google Scholar
  13. Diego, R. J. (2011). Healing the invisible wounds of trauma: A qualitative analysis. Asia Pacific Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 2(2), 151–170.  https://doi.org/10.1080/21507686.2011.588243.Google Scholar
  14. Docherty, S., & Sandelowski, M. (1999). Focus on qualitative methods: Interviewing children. Research in Nursing & Health, 22(2), 177–185.  https://doi.org/10.1002/1098-240x(199904)22:23.0.co;2-h.Google Scholar
  15. Douglas, E., & Finkelhor, D. (2011) Childhood sexual abuse fact sheet. Retrieved from http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/factsheet/pdf/CSA-FS20.pdf.
  16. Dubowitz, H. (2017). Child sexual abuse and exploitation—A global glimpse. Child Abuse and Neglect, 66, 2–8.Google Scholar
  17. Elliot, D. E., Bjelajac, P., Fallot, R. D., Markoff, L. S., & Reed, B. G. (2005). Trauma informed or trauma denied: Principles and implementation of trauma-informed services for women. Journal of Community Psychology, 33(4), 461–477.Google Scholar
  18. Faller, K. C. (2007). Interviewing children about sexual abuse: Controversies and best practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Finkelhor, D., Ormrod, R. K., & Turner, H. A. (2007). Poly victimization: A neglected component in child victimization. Child Abuse and Neglect, 31(1), 7–26.Google Scholar
  20. Finkelhor, D., Vanderminden, J., Turner, H., Shattuck, A., & Hamby, S. (2014). Youth exposure to violence prevention programs in a national sample. Child Abuse and Neglect, 38(4), 677–686.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2014.01.010.Google Scholar
  21. Ford, J. D., Chapman, J., Mack, M., & Pearson, G. (2006). Pathway from traumatic child victimization to delinquency: Implications for juvenile and permanency court proceedings and decisions. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 57, 13–26.Google Scholar
  22. Foster, J., & Hagedorn, W. (2014a). A qualitative exploration of fear and safety with child victims of sexual abuse. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 36(3), 243–262.  https://doi.org/10.17744/mehc.36.3.0160307501879217.Google Scholar
  23. Foster, J. M., & Hagedorn, W. B. (2014b). Through the eyes of the wounded: A narrative analysis of children’s sexual abuse experiences and recovery process. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 23(5), 538–557.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10538712.2014.918072.Google Scholar
  24. Frank, L., & Aguirre, R. T. P. (2013). Suicide in the prisons: A qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis. The Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, XL, 31–52.Google Scholar
  25. Hall, M., & Hall, J. (2011). The long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse: Counseling implications. Retrieved from http://counselingoutfitters.com/vistas/vistas11/Article_19.pdf
  26. Hodas, G. R. (2006). Responding to childhood trauma: The promise and practice of trauma informed care. Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, 177. Google Scholar
  27. Hodge, D. R., Horvath, V. E., Larking, H., & Curl, A. L. (2012). Older adults’ spiritual needs in health care settings: A qualitative meta-synthesis. Research on Aging, 34, 131–155.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0164027511411308.Google Scholar
  28. Husserl, E. (1970). The crisis of European sciences and transcendental phenomenology: An introduction to phenomenological philosophy. Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Jackson, S., Newall, E., & Backett-Milburn, K. (2015). Children’s narratives of sexual abuse. Child & Family Social Work, 20(3), 322–332.  https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12080.Google Scholar
  30. Jensen, T. K., Gulbrandsen, W., Mossige, S., Reichelt, S., & Tjersland, O. A. (2005). Reporting possible sexual abuse: A qualitative study on children’s perspectives and the context for disclosure. Child Abuse and Neglect, 29(12), 1395–1413.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2005.07.004.Google Scholar
  31. Jones, L., Finkelhor, D., & Kopiec, K. (2001). Why is child sexual abuse declining? A survey of state child protection administrators. Child Abuse and Neglect, 25, 1139–1158.Google Scholar
  32. Jones, D. J., Lewis, T., Litrownik, A., Thompson, R., Proctor, L. J., Isbell, P., … Runyan, D. (2013). Linking childhood sexual abuse and early adolescent risk behavior: The intervening role of internalizing and externalizing problems. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41(1), 139–150.Google Scholar
  33. Kerson, T., & McCoyd, J. (2013). In response to need: An analysis of social work roles over time. Social Work, 49(4), 333–343.  https://doi.org/10.1093/sw/swt035.Google Scholar
  34. Ko, S. J., Ford, J. D., Kassam-Adams, N., Berkowitz, S. J., Wilson, C., Wong, M., & Layne, C. M. (2008). Creating trauma-informed systems: Child welfare, education, first responders, health care, and juvenile justice. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 39(4), 396–404.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0735-7028.39.4.396.Google Scholar
  35. Maleku, A., & Aguirre, R. T. (2014). Culturally competent healthcare from the immigrant lens: A qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis (QIMS). Social Work in Public Health, 29(6), 561–580.Google Scholar
  36. Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.  https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412995658.Google Scholar
  37. Murray, L. K., Nguyen, A., & Cohen, J. A. (2014). Child sexual abuse. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 23(2), 321–337.Google Scholar
  38. Noblit, G. W., & Hare, R. D. (1988). Meta-ethnography: Synthesizing qualitative studies. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  39. Nordberg, A., Crawford, M. R., Praetorius, R. T., & Hatcher, S. (2016). Exploring minority youths’ police encounters: A qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 33(2), 137–149.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-015-0415-3.Google Scholar
  40. Olafson, E. (2011). Child sexual abuse: Demography, impact, and interventions. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, 4(1), 8–21.Google Scholar
  41. Patton, M. Q. (1999). Enhancing the quality and credibility of qualitative analysis. Health Services Research, 34(5 Pt 2), 1189–1208.Google Scholar
  42. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  43. Ruiz, E., & Praetorius, R. T. (2016). Deciphering the lived experience of Latinos with diabetes and depression: A qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis. Social Work in Public Health, 31(2), 70–82.  https://doi.org/10.1080/19371918.2015.1087912.Google Scholar
  44. Sliva, S. M. (2015). On the meaning of life: A qualitative interpretive meta synthesis of the lived experience of life without parole. Journal of Social Work, 15(5), 498–515.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1468017314550748.Google Scholar
  45. Smith, M., & Aguirre, R. T. (2012). Reproductive attitudes and behaviors in people with sickle cell disease or sickle cell trait: A qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis. Social Work in Health Care, 51(9), 757–779.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00981389.2012.693580.Google Scholar
  46. Staller, K. M., & Nelson-Gardell, D. (2005). “A burden in your heart”: Lessons of disclosure from female preadolescent and adolescent survivors of sexual abuse. Child Abuse and Neglect, 29(12), 1415–1432.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2005.06.007.Google Scholar
  47. Turner, S., Taillieu, T., Cheung, K., & Afifi, T. O. (2017). The relationship between childhood sexual abuse and mental health outcomes among males: Results from a nationally representative United States example. Child Abuse and Neglect, 66, 64–72.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.01.018.Google Scholar
  48. Van Manen, M. (2011). The methodological reduction: Approach. Retrieved from http://www.phenomenologyonline.com/inquiry/methodology/reductio/methodological-reduction/.
  49. Wallace, C. L. (2013). End-of-life care in nursing homes: A qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis. Gerontologist, 53, 346–347.Google Scholar
  50. Wurtele, S. K. (2009). Preventing sexual abuse of children in the twenty-first century: Preparing for challenges and opportunities. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 18(1), 1–18.Google Scholar
  51. Wurtele, S. K., & Kenny, M. C. (2010). Partnering with parents to prevent childhood sexual abuse. Child Abuse Review, 19, 130–152.  https://doi.org/10.1002/car.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Counseling, Human Performance, and RehabilitationUniversity of Arkansas at Little RockLittle RockUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WorkUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA
  3. 3.School of Social WorkUniversity of Arkansas at Little RockLittle RockUSA
  4. 4.School of Social WorkTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA

Personalised recommendations