chapter  11
Sexual Abuse and Maladjustment Considered From the Perspective of Narmal Developmental Processes
Pages 22

Attention devoted to the topic of sexual abuse during childhood and adolescence largely has been focused on questions regarding the impact of sexual abuse on social and emotional adjustment. Motivated by the desire to help the victims of sexual abuse, much of this work has been conducted to achieve the clinically oriented goals of identifying the short-and long-term effects of sexual abuse and developing and evaluating intervention procedures to help victims. Indeed, the current interest in this work has been founded on intuitively compelling and empirically validated arguments that victims of sexual abuse are at risk for a variety of negative outcomes (see Browne & Finkelhor, 1986). Surprisingly, however, although it is reasonable to hypothesize that the negative effects that derive from sexual abuse are due to disruptions of normal developmental processes, very little attention has been given to the questions of what these processes are and how they are affected by this form of abuse.