Sexual Abuse and PTSD in Children

  • Caroline CummingsEmail author
  • William T. O’Donohue


Child sexual abuse is a type of a traumatic event that may involve “unwanted and inappropriate sexual solicitation of, or exposure to, a child by an older person; genital touching or fondling; or penetration in terms of oral, anal or vaginal intercourse or attempted intercourse” (Andrews, Corry, Slade, Issakidis, & Swanston, 2004). A national survey comprised of 4,549 children in the United States found a 1-year sexual abuse prevalence rate of 6.1% (Finkelhor, Turner, Ormrod, Hamby, & Kracke, 2009). A portion of these victims of child sexual abuse may later develop psychiatric issues, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Despite an alarming prevalence of child sexual abuse and PTSD and their documented negative effects on a victim’s life, there is no empirically supported treatment that has been used in the primary care setting. A stepped care approach may provide an avenue for providers to engage in effective practices that may help those who seek mental health treatment in the primary care setting. This chapter will review literature on the topic and discuss detailed steps regarding how to effectively integrate a stepped-care model into the primary care setting, specifically for the purpose of assessing and treating PTSD in pediatric patients.


Stepped care Sexual abuse PTSD Children Trauma Primary care 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical PsychologyUniversity of NevadaRenoUSA

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