One's cultural system may influence how an individual deals with incidents of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), although limited research exists on how women of color perceive the experience and cope in the aftermath of CSA (Bensley et al., 2004; Clear, Vincent, & Harris, 2006; Leahy, Pretty, & Tenenbaum, 2003; Tyagi, 2001; Ullman & Filipas, 2005). The present qualitative study used a data archive to examine how a subsample of 12 African American and 12 Latina participants conceptualized their CSA histories and examined whether culture may have influenced their appraisal of the abuse. A subset of open-ended items from the Wyatt Sexual History Questionnaire (Wyatt, Lawrence, Vodounon, & Mickey, 1992) were content analyzed and triangulated with the Abuse Attribution Inventory (Feiring, Taska, & Lewis, 1998), Self-blame Scale (Coffey, Leitenberg, Henning, Turner, & Bennett, 1996), Beck Depression Inventory (Beck, Steers, & Brown, 1996), Post-Traumatic Disorder Scale (Foa, 1997), and Religious Well-being Scale (Ellison, Paloutzian, & Bufford, 1991). Thematic similarities and differences emerged between the Latina and African American participants in how both groups of women view their sexual victimization and how they coped with their experiences. Based on the findings of this study, a discussion of treatment considerations for women of color with histories of CSA is presented.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Adult child sexual abuse victims -- Psychology; Child sexual abuse -- Psychological aspects; Hispanic American women -- Psychology; African American women -- Psychology

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Asamen, Joy K.;