The concept of inner child as experienced by adult survivors of child sex abuse



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Texas Tech University


Using symbolic interaction theory as a guide, this study provides a definition of inner child that expands and clarifies popular writings on the topic. This study further empirically examines aspects of severity of abuse, perceptions of inner child, and lack of adult adjustment. The sample was comprised of 34 women survivors of childhood sexual abuse who were in therapy at the time of the study, or had been in therapy with a therapist who introduced inner child work. A multivariate analysis of variance was conducted to examine differences between self-concept of wounded and ideal inner children. Wounded inner child self-concept was significantly lower than that of ideal inner children. No significant correlations were found between difference scores and scores on any of the three outcome measures (BDI. BAI, RSES). A path analysis using Linear Structural Equations (7) (LISPED was also conducted. Severity of abuse was not significantly related to wounded inner child self-concept, difference scores between wounded and ideal inner child