Risk factors that predict maladaptive outcomes among sexually abused girls presenting for services at a community agency

Denise Marie Romaguera, Florida International University


The purpose of this study was to determine which factors predicted maladaptive outcomes in sexually abused children. Key factors were aggregated into four categories: abuse characteristics risk factors, individual-level risk factors, family disruption risk factors, and social disruption risk factors. It was hypothesized that (a) individual-level risk factors (e.g., school performance, child alcohol/substance abuse) and (b) abuse characteristics risk factors (e.g., longer duration/frequency of abuse, use of force/threats of force, intrafamilial abuse) would predict higher levels of trauma symptoms. Furthermore, it was hypothesized that (a) family disruption risk factors (e.g., family alcohol/substance use, family psychopathology) and (b) social disruption risk factors (e.g., parental divorce, homelessness, witnessing homicide or violence) would moderate the impact of prior sexual abuse and predict higher levels of trauma symptoms. ^ The participants were 110 female children (5 to 18 years old) presenting for treatment for sexual abuse at a community agency (The Journey Institute) in Miami, Florida. This study conducted a retrospective analysis of an archival data set collected over a three-year period (1998–2001). The measures completed upon intake included The Journey Psychosocial Assessment and The Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC; Briere, 1996). Using Pearson correlations and hierarchical multiple regression analysis, this study found that abuse characteristics risk factors and individual-level risk factors were predictive of maladaptive outcomes in this sample of sexually abused girls. However, no moderating effects were found for family disruption risk factors or social disruption risk factors. Therefore, the results of these analyses provided support for the contention that abuse characteristics and individual-level risk factors were appropriate targets for treatment for sexually abused girls. Moreover, limitations of this study, implications for treatment, and directions for future research were discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Denise Marie Romaguera, "Risk factors that predict maladaptive outcomes among sexually abused girls presenting for services at a community agency" (January 1, 2003). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. Paper AAI3085821.