Boys who were sexually abused in childhood are three times as likely to report substance use problems that are associated with poor mental and physical health as well as academic, vocational, and interpersonal difficulties. A review of literature revealed commonly held beliefs that (a) boys are not vulnerable to childhood sexual abuse; (b) boys are collaborators more so than victims; (c) sexual activity is a rite of passage for boys; (d) sexual activity is synonymous with masculinity. Self-blame may be the result of these patriarchal and misogynistic cultural norms. This study hypothesized that forgiveness can replace substance use as a coping strategy.
This research examined the relationship between substance use problems, family communication, and forgiveness in men who were sexually abused in childhood. The sample consisted of 406 men who completed an anonymous survey distributed via national support and advocacy organizations. Variables were measured with the CAGE-AID; the Family Communication Scale, Heartland Forgiveness Scale, and the Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire. Three dimensions of forgiveness were assessed, (a) forgiveness of self; (b) forgiveness of others; (c) forgiveness of situations.
Findings revealed statistical significance (p = .030) that forgiveness of self is inversely related to substance use problems in men who were sexually abused in childhood. Logistic regression analysis indicated that family communication, forgiveness of others, and forgiveness of situations did not contribute to substance use problems in this sample. Results suggest that higher scores for forgiveness of self are related to lower rates of substance use problems.
|Advisor:||Abrams, Lyndon P.|
|Commitee:||Balog, Valerie G., Lambert, Rich, Lassiter, Pamela, Peterman, Amy|
|School:||The University of North Carolina at Charlotte|
|School Location:||United States -- North Carolina|
|Source:||DAI-B 79/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Sexuality, Psychology, Individual & family studies|
|Keywords:||Coping, Family communication, Forgiveness, Male childhood sexual abuse, Misogyny, Substance use|
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