Attention Problems and Comorbid Symptoms following Child Sexual Abuse

Akemi E. Mii, Kelsey McCoy, Hannah M. Coffey, Katie Meidlinger, Emily Sonnen, T. Zachary Huit, Mary Fran Flood, David J. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Treatment utilization following child sexual abuse (CSA) is essential in combatting the various negative consequences of CSA. Youth may present to treatment for CSA with symptoms that cut across multiple diagnostic presentations that impact their ability to successfully engage in treatment. In particular, children who have difficulties with attention may have unique treatment needs following CSA. The purpose of this study was to examine how attention problems interplay with comorbid symptoms and how these clinical presentations impact treatment outcomes for youth who have been sexually abused. Participants included 323 families presenting to treatment for CSA. Youth were 7 to 19 years old, 78.5% female, and 76.6% identified as Caucasian/White. Results indicated that 22.9% of the youth presented with clinically elevated attention problems as collected through parent-report of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Results demonstrated that child survivors of CSA who presented with attention problems self-reported more psychological concerns (e.g., symptoms of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress). At post-treatment, attention problems, interpersonal problems, and thought problems were significantly reduced for youth initially presenting with attention problems. Further implications for treatment following CSA and unique needs for youth with attention problems are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)924-943
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Child Sexual Abuse
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2020


  • Child sexual abuse
  • attention problems
  • comorbid symptoms
  • inattention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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