Journal Article

Exploring Coping Factors amongst Men Who Were Sexually Abused in Childhood

Patrick J. O'Leary and Nick Gould

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 8, pages 2669-2686
Published in print December 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online August 2010 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcq098
Exploring Coping Factors amongst Men Who Were Sexually Abused in Childhood

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Men who were sexually abused in childhood are overrepresented in mental health and other clinical populations. There is heterogeneity in outcomes for such men and a substantial number develop coping strategies that minimise negative consequences of abuse. However, little research has been undertaken with abused men to understand the nature of their coping. This paper reports on one arm of a major study of mental health outcomes for Australian men who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse and presents findings from thematic analysis of qualitative interviews with thirty-nine men, exploring how their coping mechanisms have developed and the nature of the advice for coping they would give to professionals or other survivors. The study found that coping strategies developed adaptively through the life course but clustered into two types: those that are concerned with forms of suppression and denial, which are associated with negative mental health outcomes, and those that involve reframing the abuse, which tend to be associated with more positive outcomes. Implications of the study for practice are consistent with the advice suggested by the men themselves, that they were helped by consistent relationships with others who could provide practical support and inspire hope.

Keywords: Child sexual abuse; male victims; coping; mental health

Journal Article.  7143 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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