Predictors of treatment process and outcome for sexually abused children

Beverly L. Haidar (2005)

As awareness of child sexual abuse grows, mental health professionals have been increasingly called upon to investigate allegations of child sexual abuse by use of forensic sexual abuse evaluations. When a disclosure of sexual abuse occurs, and how that occurrence influences treatment outcome, depends on a variety of factors. This dissertation investigated whether disclosure during an assessment influenced treatment outcome and Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) change. This dissertation also investigated whether disclosure of sexual abuse during an assessment correlated with a greater amount of GAF change between pre- and post-treatment GAF scores when age was considered a major variable. Successful treatment was defined as having a final GAF score of 61 or above. The data was collected from archival charts at a non-profit outpatient mental health center. Results indicated that age significantly affected both disclosure of sexual abuse during an assessment, and successful treatment outcome, rather than disclosure alone significantly influencing successful treatment outcome. It was found that older children were more likely to disclose during an assessment and that their treatment outcome was more likely to be rated as successful. Results also indicated that disclosure did not significantly influence the amount of change between pre- and post-treatment GAF scores but that age did. A trend was found indicating that the GAF scores of clients who disclosed sexual abuse during an assessment showed a greater change from intake to termination.