Consequences of childhood sexual abuse for health and well-being: Gender similarities and differences

Sigrun Sigurdardottir*, Sigridur Halldorsdottir, Soley S. Bender

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: Analyse gender similarities and differences in the consequences of childhood sexual abuse for health and well-being. Methods: Comparative analysis of 28 in-depth interviews with 14 purposefully chosen participants, seven women and seven men, who had experienced childhood sexual abuse; two interviews were conducted with each participant. Results: The participants expressed a journey of deep and silent suffering which seems, for them, to be endless and almost unbearable. All of them have suffered from complex health problems since childhood. A gender difference was shown in the tendency of women to internalize their emotional pain while the men had a tendency to externalize it. Conclusions: It is important for health professionals to be aware of the symptoms and consequences of child sexual abuse in order to provide support, appropriate care and treatment for the survivors. Finally, preventive and long lasting public health measures have to be taken in order to prevent children from experiencing such serious trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-286
Number of pages9
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The University of Akureyri Research Fund, and the Ingibjorg R. Magnusdottir Fund provided partial funding for this research project.

Other keywords

  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • comparative analysis
  • hermeneutics
  • interviews
  • men's health
  • phenomenology
  • qualitative
  • suffering
  • women's health


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