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The Treatment of the Long-term Sequelae of Child Abuse

  • Jim Stevenson (a1)
    • Published online: 01 January 1999

The literature on the long-term sequelae of sexual and physical abuse is reviewed. Abused children are at risk of long-term adverse psychological sequelae related to the abuse per se and not just as a consequence of other associated background factors. There is some specificity relating the type of psychological outcome to the type of abuse experienced. Physical abuse is just as traumagenic as sexual abuse in the long-term. Whatever the efficacy of specific psychological treatments, there are broad general service measures that will prevent both abuse and re-abuse and therefore impact on long-term sequelae. The studies on the effectiveness of intervention to prevent psychological sequelae of abuse are systematically appraised. There are few well-conducted and adequately controlled studies of the efficacy of treatment for abused children. Where a corpus of studies does exist, e.g. group therapy for sexually abused children, treatment for abused children appears to be as effective for children whose problems arise from other causes. Studies have also shown that abusive parenting can be changed by training.

Corresponding author
Requests for reprints to: Professor Jim Stevenson, Centre for Research into Psychological Development, Department of Psychology, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, U.K. (E-mail:
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The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
  • ISSN: 0021-9630
  • EISSN: 1469-7610
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-child-psychology-and-psychiatry-and-allied-disciplines
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