Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Giordano, Francesca G.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Sexual abuse victims--Mental health; Adult child abuse victims--Mental health; Forgiveness--Psychological aspects


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between sexual abuse survivors and forgiveness. The basic research question was does the childhood experience of sexual abuse, long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse, global presence of pain, and previous treatment experiences predict level of forgiveness toward the perpetrator(s) by the survivor of childhood sexual abuse? The Hargrave model of forgiveness was utilized in this study, yielding four separate regression analyses. The null was rejected for all four regressions. The general findings suggest that sexual abuse treatment does influence the work of forgiveness for survivors and the increased levels of hurt hinder the work of forgiveness. Sexual abuse treatment providers have generally overlooked forgiveness as a treatment consideration in the care of survivors. However, the findings from this study indicate that forgiveness could be useful in treating survivors and should not be overlooked when treating survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Forgiveness of perpetrator(s) by adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse can be better understood by knowing the demographic variables of the survivor, childhood experience of sexual abuse, long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse, the global presence of pain, and previous treatment histories of the survivor.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [174]-181)


viii, 219 pages




Northern Illinois University

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