Personal constructions of gender and the impact of childhood sexual abuse on adult male survivors
This study examined if and how male survivors' personal meanings of masculinity influenced the impact of childhood sexual abuse. Gender was defined as the individual male survivor's personal construction of masculinity within the context of the sociocultural construction of traditional masculinity. Six men participated in in-depth unstructured interviews. Data analysis of the verbatim transcriptions of the interviews was guided by qualitative methods associated with a constructivist paradigm. All men reported numerous long-term effects similar to those reported by female survivors with no clear relation to gender. Results, however, also suggested that variations in male survivors' personal meanings of masculinity were associated with different outcomes. Male survivors who held personal constructions of masculinity as more traditional reported disturbances in their sense of self as masculine and their sexuality as males. Male survivors who held less traditional personal constructions of masculinity reported fewer or no difficulties in these areas. The results of this study challenge theoretical models on male victimization that propose restrictive male responses to trauma, and highlight the importance of taking into account the individual male survivor's personal meaning of masculinity for a more complete understanding of the impact of sexual abuse.
sex role, psychology, adult child sexual abuse victims, sexually abused children, boys -- abuse of, identity, manhood, mental health
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)