Impact of child sexual abuse on non-abused siblings: A review with implications for research and practice

Alayna Schreier, Jessica K. Pogue, David J. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Research has widely supported the numerous negative outcomes for victims of child sexual abuse (CSA), but little attention has been paid to the experiences of non-abused, non-offending siblings following the victim's disclosure. This review presents evidence indicating that this overlooked sibling population merits both clinical and research attention. Siblings may experience significant emotional and behavioral responses to the victim's disclosure due to changes within the family system. A sibling's internalizing and externalizing behaviors can increase family distress post-abuse, while a supportive sibling can contribute to the victim's recovery. The current state of clinical services for siblings is described. Services including the entire family have been found to be especially beneficial in reducing the negative impact of CSA. Although siblings may present to treatment with subclinical symptoms of distress on average, there is a heterogeneity in emotional and behavioral responses similar to that found in victims. There are currently no measures designed to specifically capture the sibling's experience and impairment following the victim's CSA. Recommendations for future research are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-262
Number of pages9
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
StatePublished - May 2017


  • Child sexual abuse
  • Family violence
  • Siblings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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