A salutogenic perspective on adult female survivors of childhood incest

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. H.G. Pretorius en
dc.contributor.author Sher, Loren
dc.date.accessioned 2008-11-12T08:49:18Z
dc.date.available 2008-11-12T08:49:18Z
dc.date.issued 2008-11-12T08:49:18Z
dc.date.submitted 2002
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/1642
dc.description M.A. en
dc.description.abstract Incest can be defined as, “The involvement of dependant children or adolescents in sexual activities they do not truly comprehend, to which they are unable to give informed consent, or that violate the social taboos of family roles” (Kempe & Kempe, 1978, p.60). Incest may include a multitude of activities, such as fondling, masturbation, exposing genitalia, exposure to pornographic material, as well as intercourse (Gilmartin, 1994). In our sexist patriarchal society, sexual abuse of children and women has been, and still is, a dark secret (Bradshaw, 1995). A study done by Collings (1997) at the University of Natal revealed that over 50% of all second year st udents had reported some incidence of sexual abuse during their childhood and/or adolescent years. Statistics from the South African Police Force indicate an increase in the number of incest cases from 7559 in 1994 to 10037 in 1995 (Tucker, 2000). Lyell (1997) emphasised that the magnitude of the problem of sexual abuse is far greater than any professionals working in this field ever imagined. Over the past 24 years many studies have been published on the psychological impact of incest (Ensink, 1992). These effects include the disruption of normal development (Doyle, 1997), emotional problems (Newman & Peterson, 1996), social problems (Newman Lubell & Peterson, 1998) and physical problems (Tucker, 2000), to name a few. The abovementioned statistics show that incest is of concern in the South African context. It is also of international relevance because as Boyles, De Noon and Key (1999) have noted sexual abuse is a worldwide problem. The purpose of this study is to investigate the way adult female survivor s of childhood incest cope. The epistemological framework of this study is that of the Modernistic approach. Quantitative methods of research were therefore used to collect and analyse the data. The survivors’ ways of coping were assessed through response s t o the “Ways of Coping” Questionnaire given by a multi-e t h n i c sample containing mainly white women. Relevant biographical details were obtained with the use of a constructed biographical questionnaire. The differences regarding the different ways of coping, as related to specific factors, such as duration of therapy, duration of abuse and so forth, were discussed. Possible implications of the results have also been mentioned in this thesis. The information obtained provides a new perspective on incest, that of salutogenesis. Previous research has focused on the adverse effects that occur because of incest. There has not been a focus on the strengths of incest survivors, or the reason why some survivors cope better than others. It was found that incest sur vivors develop constructive coping skills, such as positive reappraisal, seeking social support and planful problem solving, after a minimal time period of one year in therapy. It was also found that the duration of abuse affects the way an adult survivor copes with the incest. Particular ways of coping are correlated with others, for example planful problem solving is correlated with positive reappraisal. The information which has emerged from this study may be useful for therapists working with incest sur vivors. Having a broader understanding of survivors’ ways of coping and some of the factors influencing these, may allow therapists to direct and teach ways of coping, and more specifically to facilitate and encourage more constructive ways of coping. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Incest research en
dc.subject Adult child sexual abuse victims en
dc.subject Incest victims en
dc.subject Women abuse en
dc.title A salutogenic perspective on adult female survivors of childhood incest en
dc.type Thesis en

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