Five-year study finds that most sexually abused children do eventually recover

December 12, 1990|By Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — LOS ANGELES-- A five-year study on sexual abuse in preschools, released today by the University of California, Los Angeles, has concluded that, with the right kind of help, most children who say they have been molested eventually recover from the resulting fear, anxiety and behavior problems experience, even though recovery may take months or years.

Funded by the federal government's National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, the UCLA study gives researchers the most detailed look yet at the extended effects of child abuse. Previous studies generally lasted no longer than a year or so, commented David Finkelhor, co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire and one of the country's leading experts on child abuse.

Moreover, it also documents "very clearly the kinds of active support and care families and communities must provide" in the aftermath of reports of child abuse, Finkelhor said.

In general, the report concluded, children who experienced fewer behavioral and emotional problems were those whose mothers were supportive and spent significant time with them, whose families were close and actively sought professional and community help. Those children who had the most problems were from families that tried to avoid talking about and dealing with the situation.

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