Adult survivors of child abuse. What can be done?

Nowadays, a person faces many dangers in the process of growing up. There may be accidents, especially those, related to teaching and educational processes, communication problems with peers, adults and other factors. They may lead to violation of psychological security of the person.

One of the most traumatic situations for humans is the situation of violence. Child abuse is very widespread these days. Yet the different studies reveal two opposing views on the impact of violence, experienced in childhood for the further development of individual. Many theoretical and empirical studies have convincingly prove the fact of negative impact of violence for the further development of personality and socialization of the adult survivors of child abuse. However, some “researchers” argue that the facts of violence in childhood does not have a significant impact on an individual’s life. Both represented points of view can be correct, as the personal development depends on one’s individual perception of violence, as well as personal and social resources, which contribute to successful resolution of the traumatic situation.

The main environmental resources represent a wide range of social support, such as the availability of instrumental, moral and emotional support from a reference group, social skills, power and money. Personal resources include a variety of skills, abilities and personal characteristics of the person.

The delayed effects of child abuse have a negative impact on the development and functioning of a person. Adult survivors of child abuse often are unable to seek help from other people, so the social psychological security resources are blocked for them.

In the literature, devoted to the study of psychological resources the two groups of factors are mentioned, which help to overcome the difficult situation. These are:

  1. nonspecific factors, which lead to better adaptation, regardless of the nature and degree of risk (developmental resources);
  2. protective factors, which lead to better adaptation only in situations of significant risk or very unfavorable conditions (protective resources).

Protective resources appear only in situations of violence and help people to safely overcome this experience. These resources include the following personal characteristics: credibility in different spheres of life (professional and intellectual activities, solving of everyday problems and skills of building relationships with close people, friends, members of opposite sex, other children and parents), effective coping strategies, internal locus of control, motivation for success, balanced identity, violence awareness and knowing of coping strategies. Responsibility and viability are the key resources, which help to overcome the negative effects of violence.

Developing resources of psychological security include the following personal characteristics:

  1. cognitive resources, represented by feeling of confidence with the opposite sex and personal vitality;
  2. behavioral resources, consisting of responsibility and motivation for success;
  3. protective resources, which help adults to reduce the negative impact of trauma, experienced in childhood. They are represented in three units: cognitive unit, consisting of credibility in different life spheres, which were mentioned above; emotional unit, represented by balanced identity; and behavioral unit, which lies in effective coping strategies.