A Meta-Analysis of the Published Research

A Meta-Analysis of the Published Research

on the Effects of Child Sexual Abuse

Start Library 3: Table of content What is new? Ipce Magazine

[To Scientific Articles, catalogue]     [To Subject: Abuse - Research] 

Table of content of this article


Elizabeth Oddone Paolucci, Mark L. Genius, National Foundation for Family Research and Education, Calgary, Canada


Claudio Violato,Department of Applied Psychology University of Calgary, Canada

The Journal of Psychology, 2001, 135(1), 17-36


A meta-analysis of the published research on the effects of child sexual abuse (CSA) was undertaken for 6 outcomes: posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, suicide, sexual promiscuity, victim-perpetrator cycle, and poor academic performance.

Thirty-seven studies published between 1981 and 1995 involving 25,367 people were included. Many of the studies were published in 1994 (24; 65%), and most were done in the United States (22; 59%).

All six dependent variables were coded, and effect sizes (d) were computed for each outcome. Average unweighted and weighted ds for each of the respective outcome variables were

.50 and .40 for PTSD,

.63 and .44 for depression,

.64 and .44 for suicide.

.59 and .29 for sexual promiscuity,

.41 and .16 for victim-perpetrator cycle, and

.24 and .19 for [poor] academic performance.

A file drawer analysis indicated that 277 studies with null ds would be required to negate the present findings. The analyses provide clear evidence confirming the link between CSA and subsequent negative short- and long-term effects on development. There were no statistically significant differences on ds when various potentially mediating variables such as gender, socioeconomic status, type of abuse, age when abused, relationship to perpetrator, and number of abuse incidents were assessed. The results of the present meta-analysis support the multifaceted model of traumatization rather than a specific sexual abuse syndrome of CSA.

Key words: childhood sexual abuse, meta-analysis, posttraumatic stress disorder. suicide

Table of content of this article

Theories of the Effects of Child Sexual Abuse
Effects of Child Sexual Abuse

Definitions Adopted 
Literature Search 
Inclusion Criteria 
Data Coding  


descriptive statistics of the characteristics of the studies,
effect size analysis, and
the analysis of potentially mediating variables on the effect size.
Table 1: Study Characteristics and Effect Sizes
Table 2: CSA Outcome Measures and Effect Sizes
Table 3: Potential Effect of Mediating Variables on Average Unweighted d and Weighted d Outcomes  



[To Scientific Articles, catalogue]     [To The RBT files' overview]

Start Library 3: Table of content What is new? Ipce Magazine