Psychopathological correlates of child sexual abuse: The case of female students in Jimma zone, south west Ethiopia
BACKGROUND: Arguably, the sexual abuse of children raises a number of important questions for researchers at different times. Thus, the present study was aimed to examine psychopathological correlates of child sexual abuse.
METHODS: This cross-sectional survey study compared the degree of vulnerability to psychopathological variables among respondents with a history of sexual abuse and their unabused counter parts in Jimma Zone. To this end, 400 female students were selected from five high schools as the sample population using multi-stage sampling procedure. Data were gathered using Reynold’s Adolescent Depression Scale (RADS), Adolescent Panic Anxiety Scale, and Posttraumatic stress disorder test. The collected data via self-administered questionnaire were analyzed through the two sample t-test statistical procedure.
RESULTS: The study revealed a result of t=3.83 for depression, t=2.46 for panic episode, and t=4.23 for PTSD score, whereas, the critical value of all the three psychopathological variables showed t (52) =1.676 at P=0.05. Results illustrate the presence of statistically significant differences in the mean scores of the above mentioned psychopathologies between females with history of sexual abuse and females who were not victims of this sexual attack at df =52 and P=0.05.
CONCLUSION: The findings of the present study indicate that history of childhood sexual abuse has adverse consequences on the future psychological wellbeing of females. Specifically, females with experience of sexual abuse were found to be more susceptible to develop depression, panic anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorders than unabused females. Thus, parents, and teachers should give the necessary care and protection to female children. Primary bio-psychosocial care services need to be established in the school system, and both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education should work together against sexual exploitation of female children.
KEY WORDS: Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), Psychopathologies, Correlates