Perpetrator Methodology as a Predictor of Traumatic Symptomatology in Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Trisha Leahy, Grace Pretty, Gershon Tenenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

This retrospective study explores, through quantitative and qualitative methods, the relationship of two variables (perpetrator relationship and perpetrator methodology) to posttraumatic and dissociative symptomatology. The quantitative sample comprised a nonpsychiatric group (N = 39) of Australian adults reporting sexual abuse histories. A MANOVA revealed that current levels of posttraumatic and dissociative symptomatology were significantly higher in the group reporting sexual abuse by a perpetrator in a relationship of trust, guardianship, or authority. The qualitative sample comprised a purposively selected subgroup of the quantitative sample (n = 20). Thematic content analyses of perpetrator methodology suggest that perpetrator strategies involving emotional manipulation, rather than the perpetrator relationship per se, appear to differentiate between groups with clinical or nonclinical levels of posttraumatic and dissociative symptomatology. The combination of qualitative and quantitative methods provides integrated, contextualized data with implications for future research and clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-540
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume19
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Perpetrator methodology
  • Sexual abuse
  • Trauma

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