Spirituality and the Current Adjustment of Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Authors

  • TERRY LYNN GALL,

    1. Terry Lynn Gall is an Associate Professor in Pastoral Studies, Faculty of Human Sciences, Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She is also the associate editor of the journal, Counselling and Spirituality.
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  • VIOLA BASQUE,

    1. Viola Basque, Marizete Damasceno-Scott, and Gerard Vardy are all M.A. graduates in Pastoral Counselling from Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. This study is from their M. A. research seminar project.
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  • MARIZETE DAMASCENO-SCOTT,

    1. Viola Basque, Marizete Damasceno-Scott, and Gerard Vardy are all M.A. graduates in Pastoral Counselling from Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. This study is from their M. A. research seminar project.
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  • GERARD VARDY

    1. Viola Basque, Marizete Damasceno-Scott, and Gerard Vardy are all M.A. graduates in Pastoral Counselling from Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. This study is from their M. A. research seminar project.
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Correspondence should be addressed to Terry Lynn Gall, Pastoral Studies, Faculty of Human Sciences, Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Email: tgall@ustpaul.ca

Abstract

We explore the role of spirituality in the current adjustment of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). A sample of 101 men and women survivors of CSA completed questionnaires on spirituality (relationship with God or higher power), person factors (blame attributions, self-acceptance, hope), and current adjustment (mood, personal growth, resolution of the abuse). Results indicated that relationship with a benevolent God or higher power is related to the experience of less negative mood and a greater sense of personal growth and resolution of the abuse. Also, relationship with a higher power is related to other person factors such as self-acceptance and hope. Relationship with a benevolent God appears to have an indirect link to depressive mood and resolution of abuse through the mediating pathways of hope and self-acceptance. In contrast, relationship with God appears to have a more direct association to the outcome of personal growth for these survivors.

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