The effects of childhood sexual abuse on adult male attachments in close relationships



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Texas A&M University


Over the past two decades society has become more aware of the prevalence and impact of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). While society has become more aware of this problem, there is still much that remains unknown. This is evident especially in regard to the effects of CSA on adult males. There are several reasons for this; one such reason is that males who come to therapy are rarely asked about sexual abuse histories. However, the effects of CSA are often quite severe for males. One area particularly affected is adult close relationships. Attachment theory offers a way to conceptualize how people interact in close relationships. In this study, the influence of CSA on adult male relationships was examined. Seven hypotheses examined were that males who were abused by a male, males who were abused for a longer period of time, males who were abused at an earlier age, males who perceived little support from their family with regards to the abuse, males who were abused by a family member, males who were abused more frequently, and males who were abuse more severely would be more likely to have an insecure attachment than other males. These CSA characteristics were measured by the Childhood Sexual Experiences Questionnaire and the Adult Attachment Questionnaire (AAQ). Although limitations to this study make it difficult to reject the null hypothesis and to make statements that these results reflect the population, findings generally confirm the stated hypotheses.