Parenting Childhood Victims of Sexual Abuse: A Comparative Study of Mothers With and Without Histories as Victims

Talia R Kaplan, Pace University


The goal of this study was to understand how a non-perpetrating female caregiver's history of sexual abuse influences her ability to effectively parent her child who is sexually abused. We analyzed the stress female caregivers experience when their child has been the victim of childhood sexual abuse. This study examined 36 female caregivers, with and without a childhood sexual abuse history and their parenting stress, using the Parenting Stress Index – 4 (PSI-4) and the Stress Index of Parenting Adolescents (SIPA). The study also sought to understand how the female caregiver's therapy after being abused may mitigate this difference. Additionally, we looked at whether the age of the child relative to the age of the parent when they were abused, the gender of the child, and the parent's own perceived support from their own mother after themselves having been the victim of CSA impacts differences in the amount of parenting stress. Results show that female caregivers who reported a history of childhood sexual abuse rated their parenting stress higher, when parenting sexually abused children, than female caregivers who did not report a history of childhood sexual abuse. There was also a specific difference noted in the parenting domain of the combined measures. This finding indicates that differences are noted between female caregivers with a history of abuse, and female caregivers without in the realm of their belief in their own adequacy as parents, and stress related to that. In addition, the study examined how various demographic variables relate to the levels of stress female caregivers experience. Given the low sample size of the study, no further significant differences/associations were noted. However, this study supports the finding that a caregiver's history of sexual abuse can impact parenting of their own child who has been the victim of childhood sexual abuse. The findings were discussed within the context of previous research as supporting the need to provide more services for caregivers of children when treating children who have a history of sexual abuse. Specifically, helping caregivers who have their own history of sexual abuse process their own abuse, may be useful in helping them help their children, and assure their children's successful growth. Limitations of the study, including the small sample size were discussed.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Kaplan, Talia R, "Parenting Childhood Victims of Sexual Abuse: A Comparative Study of Mothers With and Without Histories as Victims" (2016). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI10099008.



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