Family sexual abuse : its effects on self-concept development

This study explored the relationship between intrafamilial sexual abuse and self-concept development by examining the scores received on the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale by 85 female residents (ages 14-22) of a juvenile detention facility who were divided into seven groups on the basis of self-reported abusive experiences. An analysis of variance and t- test comparison indica ted that subjects who bad reported intrafamilial sexual contact scored less positively on the physical self subscale (significant at .01 level), and indicated less self-satisfaction (significant at .05 level) than subjects who reported no such experiences. The group which reported intrafamilial sexual contact and physical abuse scored more negatively along the moral ethical subscale than the group reporting physical abuse alone. Among individuals with reported histories of intrafamilial sexual contact, these whose first experience occurred prior to the age of 10, and those whose first partner was a relative, scored less positively than those whose first experience occurred after 10 and with a nonrelative. Of these subjects, those who reported feeling used sexually had more positive overall self-esteem score than those who did not; perhaps due to the placement of blame on the perpetrator. Results suggested that subjects with histories of in trafami1ial sexual contact had more negative levels of self-concept on some parts of self than other subjects, although more extensive research is required to verify and expand upon these results.