Original Articles

The School Functioning of Individuals with Childhood Experiences of Sexual Abuse: Results and Implications of a South African Study

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 17, issue 1-2, 2007 , pages: 57–65
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2007.10820145
Author(s): Tlakale Nareadi PhashaUniversity of Johannesburg,


This study investigated the school functioning of individuals with childhood sexual experiences in South Africa. The nature of the study was qualitative, and employed two data collection strategies: in-depth individual interviews with 22 survivors of child sexual abuse and focus interviews with two groups of teachers. The study revealed that participants' emotional reaction to the abuse affected three broad areas of school functioning: concentration, interest in school-related activities and school adjustment. The intensity of these problems varied across participants. The findings are consistent with Finkelhor and Browne's (1986) traumagenic model, which suggests that the experience of child sexual abuse often results in feelings that interfere with one's cognitive development and emotional orientations to the world and causes trauma by distorting the victim's self concept and worldview.

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