This study assessed the psychometric properties of a new measure, the Parental Support after Child Sexual Abuse (PSCSA) survey, and tested the association between parents' and children's parental support reports and children's post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. A total of 99 Icelandic children (86.5% girls, 6–18 years old, M = 13.9 years) starting therapy for child sexual abuse (CSA) and 98 non-offending parents (90.6% mothers, 23–58 years old, M = 41.2 years) participated in the study. Participants completed questionnaires on parental support (PSCSA) and children's PTSD symptom severity (University of California at Los Angeles Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Reaction Index for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition). A total of 18 items were considered for the PSCSA parent version and nine for the PSCSA child version. Five reliable factors emerged for the parent version (Emotional support, Instrumental support, Self-blame, Child blame and Disbelief) using 16 items and one factor (combined Emotional and instrumental support) emerged for the child's version using eight items. On average, ratings for both Emotional and Instrumental support were higher for parents than their children. Emotional support reported by both parents and children was negatively associated with PTSD symptom severity. The PSCSA survey is a promising dyadic measure for future research and clinical use in children's advocacy centres. Key Practitioner Messages: The results indicate that the PSCSA survey is a valid and reliable measure of parental support following CSA. Unlike prior measures, the PSCSA survey allows for the possibility of fathers to complete the questionnaire, reduces the number of items for children and captures greater variability in support. Emotional support reported by both parents and children was negatively associated with PTSD symptom severity. The PSCSA survey increases the feasibility of future research in this area and clinical use in children's advocacy centres and other settings.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The study was funded by the Icelandic Research Fund 141848-051 and by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) T32MH019927. We thank children, parents and staff at Barnahús (The Children's House) for their participation.
The study was conducted with permission from, and in collaboration with, the Icelandic Government Agency for Child Protection and funded by the Icelandic Research Fund. The National Bioethics Committee in Iceland granted permission for the study (permission number VSN-16-106).
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
- child sexual abuse
- parental support
- post-traumatic stress disorder