Body esteem predicts sexual functioning and satisfaction for women reporting childhood sexual abuse
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Research supports a link between poor body esteem, depression, and sexual dysfunction among childhood sexual abuse (CSA) survivors. Though the interplay of these factors also impacts nonabused women, it is possible that the impact is differentially affects these populations. The present study examined the degree to which body esteem may act as psychological mechanism through which CSA impacts adult sexuality, while controlling for the effects of depression – a problem that affects many abuse survivors. Data were collected from 108 women, 73 of who reported CSA. Women with CSA reported poorer body esteem, lower sexual functioning, less sexual satisfaction, and higher depression than women without CSA. Multivariate regression analysis revealed that body esteem significantly predicted sexual functioning and sexual satisfaction and there were significant interactions between body esteem and abuse history, and among body esteem and marital status. Depressive symptom severity was not a moderator in the relationship between body esteem and sexual functioning-satisfaction. These findings suggest that treatments for CSA survivors with sexual difficulties might benefit from addressing body esteem concerns.
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