ABSTRACT

A substantial body of evidence indicating that parental support is positively and significantly related to a child’s post-sexual abuse functioning (Elliot & Carnes, 2001; Everson, Hunter, Runyan, Edelsohn, & Coulter, 1989) continues to grow. For example, numerous studies have pointed to positive maternal support as critical to mediating the negative effects of child sexual abuse (CSA) (Conte & Schuerman, 1987; Corcoran, 2004; Deblinger, Steer, & Lippmann, 1999; Everson et al., 1989; Heriot, 1996). Spaccarelli (1994) summarized that

a warm and supportive relationship with a nonoffending parent may protect children from risks associated with abuse by minimizing perceptions of threat associated with the abuse (e.g., loss of family relationships) and by fostering the use of active or emotionally expressive coping strategies. (p. 357)

And, although the literature in this area often refers to parental support, most of the studies conducted report samples in which the vast majority of participants in the parent treatment condition are mothers. Although the authors of this chapter alternately refer to parental, maternal, and caregiver treatment, we recognize that these treatments most often involve participation of the nonoffending mothers of sexually abused children.