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Title: Shame and guilt in non-offending parents of children who have been sexually abused
Author: Browne, Dympna Mairead
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 8851
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2017
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In summary this thesis addresses a gap in the literature by examining the role of shame and guilt in the experiences of non- offending parents of children who have been sexually abused. Three studies were undertaken in order to address specific questions in relation to shame and guilt experiences in this population. Firstly, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to examine the lived experience of mothers whose children have been abused. The results revealed the following superordinate themes; 'The Sins of the Mother', 'Impotent Anger' and 'It Changed me as a Parent'. A central concept underlying the themes was that of self-blame. As there is a wealth of research indicating that shame and guilt are two distinct emotions underlying self-blame, Study 2 and 3 examined the level and nature of shame and guilt separately in this population. Study 2 compared levels of shame (state and trait) and guilt (state and trait) across 3 populations of parents; 1)parents of children who have been sexually abused, 2) parents of children who attend child and adolescent mental health services and 3) parents of children in a community GP sample. This study found heightened levels of state shame and guilt in parents of sexually abused children compared to parents of non-abused children. Study 3 then examined predictors and implications of shame and guilt in this population. This study found evidence to suggest that parental guilt in the context of adult anxious attachment styles may be detrimental to a child's social, emotional and behavioural outcomes, ultimately reducing the quality of the parent-child relationship.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available