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Wednesday, June 17 • 1:45pm - 3:15pm
Trauma and Sexual Abuse - Robbie Gilligan, Frank Infurna, Wassilis Kassis

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Trauma & Sexual Abuse:

Abstract #177
Learning from Children Exposed to Sexual Abuse and Sexual Exploitation - Lessons from the Oak Foundation Bamboo Study on Children’s Resilience
Presenter: Robbie Gilligan 
The Bamboo study explored the relevance of resilience insights in less studied contexts, using children’s own accounts of living in conditions of adversity. For the purpose of the study adversity was defined as having been exposed to sexual abuse, or living in communities deemed as high risk for sexual abuse/exploitation. The study took place in three countries, Bulgaria, Ethiopia and Nepal.
The study had certain distinctive features: a focus on the child and young person’s experience and expertise (n=257); local research teams in each country; slightly different target samples in each country, all within the coordinated framework of the study.
The presentation will highlight selected key findings on what the young people found helpful and on the realities of their daily lives as they experienced them. It will also explore some possible implications for programme providers and resilience researchers, in terms of our understanding of the concept of resilience, and how it may play out in the wider context of adversities in the lives of children and young people

Abstract #194
Childhood Trauma Influences Daily Health-Promoting Behaviors: Personal and Social Resources Promote Resilience
Presenter: Frank Infurna Co - Presenters: Megan Petrov, Alex Zautra
Childhood trauma in the form of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse is associated with premature health declines in adulthood. Possible pathways that are conceptually understood to underlie this relationship, but less studied, are biological programming, behavioral tendencies, and social-emotion regulation. Using data from a 30-day daily diary of middle-aged community residents who participated in a study of resilience (n=191, Mage=54, SD=7.50, 54% women), our objective was to target the behavioral tendency pathway by examining whether (1)childhood trauma is associated with sleep quality and daily physical activity, and (2)personal (mastery and optimism) and social (family support and strain) resources moderated these associations. Results revealed that childhood trauma was associated with a decreased likelihood of daily physical activity in midlife; optimism increased the likelihood of daily physical activity for those who reported high levels of childhood trauma. Childhood trauma was associated with poorer sleep quality; this relationship was attenuated by positive family relationships in midlife. Our results suggest that childhood trauma leads to poorer health in midlife through reductions in health-promoting behaviors. However, personal and social resources provide avenues for resilience that increase engagement in health-promoting behaviors. Our discussion focuses on how our findings inform resilience-promoting interventions to help mitigate the detrimental health effects of childhood trauma.

Abstract #205
First and Second Level Resilience: The Differential Impact of Family Violence on Adolescents
Presenter: Wassilis Kassis Co - Presenter: Sibylle Artz
Our central question was: Is a positive resilience status (being non-violent/non-depressive despite experiencing family violence) a sufficient indicator for positive social and personal development? To answer this question we computed participants’ average protective and risk factors scores and used variance analyses to compare the means of the specific protective and risk factors of resilient adolescents who had experienced family violence with those who had not.  We found that a positive resilience status is not sufficient for positive social and personal development. Resilient students who had been exposed to family violence showed significantly higher levels of social and personal risks and lower levels of social and personal protective characteristics than students without family violence experiences. These findings indicate that despite a positive resilience status, the higher the experienced level of violence family, the higher the risk characteristics and the lower the protective characteristics, even for resilient students, such that high levels of family violence “wash out” young people’s chances of positive development.


Frank Infurna

Dr. Frank J. Infurna is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University. His research broadly focuses on examining resilience in adulthood and old age with an emphasis on examining mechanisms linking early life adversity to health in adulthood and old age and personal... Read More →
avatar for Robbie Gilligan

Robbie Gilligan

Professor of Social Work and Social Policy, School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin
Robbie is Professor of Social Work and Social Policy, at Trinity College Dublin

Wassilis Kassis

Wassilis Kassis, PhD, holds a Full Professorial Chair for Educational Science at the University Osnabrück/Germany. For more than 20 years, Kassis develops and coordinates projects of research on the social development of young adults within the context of family and school at national... Read More →


Megan Petrov

Assistant Professor of Nursing at Arizona State University Dr. Megan Petrov is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Arizona State University. Her research broadly focuses on sleep, sleep disorders, health disparities, and pain and personal and social resources that promote resilience... Read More →

Alex Zautra

Foundation Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University Dr. Alex Zautra is a Foundation Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University. His research broadly focuses on emotions, stress, and health and promoting resilience in adulthood and old age. His research also focuses... Read More →

Wednesday June 17, 2015 1:45pm - 3:15pm EDT
Archibald Room NAB 3rd Floor, King's College

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