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Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 480–490 | Cite as

Exploring the Link Between Child Sexual Abuse and Sexually Intrusive Behaviors: The Moderating Role of Caregiver Discipline Strategy

  • Natasha E. Latzman
  • Robert D. Latzman
Original Paper

Abstract

Although it has been well documented that children who experience child sexual abuse (CSA) are at increased risk for developing sexually intrusive behaviors (SIB), there is considerable heterogeneity in symptom presentation. With the aim of elucidating potential moderating factors that both exacerbate and attenuate outcomes following CSA, the current study investigated caregiver discipline strategy as one potential factor that may moderate the relationship between CSA and SIB. Participants included 986 eight-year-old children (51.4 % female) drawn from the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect consortium. Child maltreatment histories were collected every 2 years starting at age 4, and caregiver discipline strategies and SIB were assessed at age 8. Results confirm the lack of a simple pathway between CSA and SIB and indicate that caregiver discipline strategy may represent a unique moderator for both exacerbating and attenuating risk for SIB following CSA. Specifically, for girls with a history of CSA, caregiver use of adaptive discipline resulted in lower levels of SIB, whereas caregiver use of physical discipline resulted in higher levels of SIB. The present study contributes to the ongoing discourse regarding the treatment of children who have experienced CSA and etiological pathways associated with the development of SIB.

Keywords

Child sexual abuse Child sexual behavior problems Parenting Discipline Child maltreatment 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to the staff of the National Data Archives on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN) and the NDACAN Summer Research Institute for their assistance.

Disclaimer

The findings and conclusions in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Control and PreventionCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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