Date of Completion

Spring 5-6-2012

Thesis Advisor(s)

Blair Johnson

Honors Major



Child Psychology | Psychology


Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) has been widely studied for its effects in later life. Previous reviews of these studies have identified CSA as a risk factor for dysfunctions in later life such as risky sex, depression, teenage pregnancy, drug use, sexual re-victimization, and health disorders. This project systematically reviews the state of systematic reviews and meta-analyses addressing the link between CSA and social functioning in later life for men and women. Systematic reviewing and meta-analysis both apply scientific methods to gather and evaluate empirical evidence. The quality of reviews can vary, leaving the conclusions of poor reviews untrustworthy. The current project empirically examines the methodological quality of these reviews, and draws conclusions based on study quality. The limitations of these reviews may be of use to determine where improvements to the literature need be made, such as inconsistent definitions of CSA, failing to investigate frequency of abuse, failing to identify the abuser’s relationship to the victim, and ignoring possible moderating factors that may have mitigated or worsened the effect of the trauma. Suggestions for further research are discussed.