Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology


The purpose of the study was to a) formulate an equation for predicting self-esteem and spiritual wellbeing among women molested as children and b) analyze the role of beginning age of abuse, ending age of abuse, relationship between offender and victim, family authority structure, and religious orientation of the home in predicting self-esteem and spiritual well-being in contributing to these equations. The sample consisted of 50 adult women between the ages of 18 and 60 who were involved in outpatient treatment for childhood sexual abuse in one of six outpatient treatment facilities in the Northwestern United States. Stepwise multiple regression analysis was performed to determine which combination of the five predictor variables formed a predictive equation for two criteria. Results revealed that none of the five predictor variables entered into a predictive equation for either General Assertiveness or Spiritual Well-Being. Forced entry analysis revealed that the total amount of variance accounted for by the five predictor variables is insignificant. SGR and SWB scores in this clinical sample as compared to normal were lower. The results suggest that the adult self esteem and spiritual well-being of these sexual abuse victims cannot be explained in terms of the five predictor variables used in this study. Apparently the cause and effect relationship between experiential factors of abuse and later overall adjustment is much more complex and individualized than previously believed. Based upon the negative correlation found in this study between family authority structure and religiosity it is concluded that the relationship between these two variables may be in the opposite direction from that previously reported. Further, neither of these two variables were predictive of self esteem or spiritual well being. Suggestions for future research include identification of other variables to be tested for predictability of adjustment, identifying new ways of operationalizing these variables, and exploring possible curvilinear relationships between experiential variables of sexual abuse victims and measures of adjustment.

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