Effects of child sexual abuse on parenting and child behaviors in a sample of homeless women

Date of Completion

January 2008


Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies




The present study examined the effect of childhood sexual abuse from family and acquaintances on parenting and child behavioral outcomes, in a group of highly traumatized homeless women. The study also examined whether maternal mental health, spirituality, experiences of other forms of violence and levels of trauma symptoms would mediate the effects of childhood sexual abuse on parenting and child outcomes. In addition, subsequent analyses were also conducted to examine the effects of treatment on maternal mental health, parenting and subsequent child outcomes, taking into account the impacts of childhood sexual abuse experiences. Study measures included the Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale (FOA), Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), The Spiritual Well-Being (SWB) Scale, a revised version of The Parent Practices Scale, The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and self-report questions on demographics. Results from this study indicated that women with experiences of childhood sexual abuse reported higher levels of mental distress as adults, which then contributed to more reports of behavioral problems in their children. While treatment program appeared to be helpful in reducing maternal mental distress, experiences of childhood sexual abuse appeared to have long term negative effects on their parenting quality. ^