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The psychosocial adjustment of sexually abused and abusive adolescent boys

Williams, Bryn Thomas Roy; (1995) The psychosocial adjustment of sexually abused and abusive adolescent boys. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Adolescent boys who sexually abuse other children have been described as socially isolated. The individual's ability to initiate and maintain relationships with the peer group during adolescence is important for psychological well-being. Those children who are excluded by their peers and find it difficult to sustain intimate close friendships are thought to be at risk of later adjustment difficulties. The aim of the study is to investigate the psychosocial characteristics of the boys who are victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse. This study provides the first attempt to systematically investigate the sociometric status of these boys within a classroom context. The sample consists of four groups, aged between 11 and 15 years, who are victims of sexual abuse, victimised perpetrators, non-victimised perpetrators, and one comparison group of boys who are neither victims nor perpetrators, but display antisocial behaviour. Sociometric techniques and measures of close friendship have been selected to assess social relationships. Information collected on the general population boys is included in the analysis for purposes of comparison with the study boys. Peer, parent and teacher ratings of psychological adjustment were obtained, in addition to measures of social competence, cognitive functioning and demography. The results suggest that the study boys are significantly more rejected by their peers than boys in the general population, and this is associated with aggression. Whilst there are few between group differences on psychosocial characteristics, the evidence indicates that sexually abused boys have higher externalising and internalising problems than adolescent perpetrators, and are more like antisocial boys. It is suggested that externalising psychological disturbance might function to militate against the development of sexually abusive behaviour in boys who have been the victims of sexual abuse.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The psychosocial adjustment of sexually abused and abusive adolescent boys
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099761
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