Childhood coping strategies of intrafamilial and extrafamilial female sexual abuse victims

David K. Dilillo, Patricia J. Long, Lia M. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A sample of 66 college women’s retrospective reports of childhood sexual abuse was examined in order to identify the coping strategies implemented by victims of intrafamilial and extrafamilial sexual abuse at the time of their victimization. Results indicated that both intrafamilial and extrafamilial victims reported attempts to regulate their distress (with emotion-focused coping strategies) and to impact the actual abuse situation (using problem-focused coping strategies). However, intrafamilial victims reported employing more of both types of coping as compared to extrafamilial victims. With regard to more specific types of emotion-focused coping, intrafamilial victims reported using more wishful thinking, detachment, selfsame, and self-isolation. Differences between the two groups are also examined on a stralegy-by-strategy basis. The implications of these results are discussed with regard to clinical interventions for victims.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-66
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Child Sexual Abuse
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 7 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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