Date of Award

6-12-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Gregory Brack, Ph.D. - Chair

Second Advisor

Kenneth B. Matheny, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

JoAnna White, Ed.D.

Fourth Advisor

Catherine J. Brack, Ph.D.

Fifth Advisor

Frances Y. Mullis, Ph.D.

Abstract

School counselors have a duty to formulate strategies that aid in the detection and prevention of child sexual abuse (ASCA, 2003). This may be accomplished in a number of ways, such as designing programs, providing training to teachers regarding recognizing and reporting abuse indicators, and collaborating with child protection and other mental health professionals to provide additional aftercare for sexually abused children in the school setting. Much can be learned about trauma symptomology from a clinical sample of sexually abused children. The Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC; Briere, 1996) is a 54-item self-report instrument for children and adolescents 8-16 years of age which assesses the frequency of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to traumatic events they have experienced. To understand better the trauma symptomology of children and adolescents, the author analyzed an existing data set of TSCC protocols from children who received treatment for sexual abuse from a children’s advocacy center in a metropolitan area near a large city in the southeastern United States. Although a large number of potential participants were lost to follow up (N = 54), T2 analyses revealed significant differences between the groups only on the length of time in therapy. A repeated measures analysis of variance was performed on data from children and adolescents who completed therapy (N = 31) to test whether differences on Depression and Posttraumatic Stress scale scores would exist across the course of therapy. Although no statistically significant findings emerged, implications for clinical practice and research became apparent. Specifically, differences in cutoff T-scores on TSCC scales may be more useful to clinicians for treatment and termination planning purposes than statistically significant differences. In addition, assessing clients at intervals measured by session number, rather than by length of time, may provide more generalizable results for within- and between-participants clinical and research comparisons. These implications may aid clinical and school counselors and researchers to recognize and serve the specific needs of sexually abused children in their respective settings.

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