Psychopathology among adult survivors of child pornography

Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan, Yael Lahav, Wendy Walsh, David Finkelhor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The majority of studies investigating child pornography have focused on conceptualizing the problem and the harm of the crime, evaluating the risk for child pornography offending, or discuss preventive measures. Little is known about survivors of this type of crime. Objective: This research explores the relationship between child pornography victimization and psychopathology in adulthood. Specifically, we examined the contribution of emotional reactions at the time of the crime and shortly after (guilt, embarrassment and avoidance) on psychopathology among adult survivors of child pornography. Participants and setting: The study was conducted among 107 child pornography adult survivors, aged 18–63 (M = 39.48, SD = 12.31). All participants were sexually molested during the crime. Methods: An online survey was completed by a convenience sample of adult survivors of child pornography. Results: Findings indicate survivor's current age predicted current psychopathology symptoms. Survivor's emotional reactions of guilt and embarrassment at the time of the crime and shortly after were significantly associated with elevated psychopathology, above and beyond demographic characteristics and features of the crime. Conclusions: The present results suggest the way survivors of child pornography react to the crime might shape their mental health in the long term.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104189
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume98
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the courage and candor of the survivors who participated in this research. The study was funded by the Office of Victims of Crime, Department of Justice, under a grant awarded to the National Center for Victims of Crime, which subcontracted with the Crimes against Children Research Center to conduct the data collection. The National Children's Alliance and an Advisory board of experts assisted.

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the courage and candor of the survivors who participated in this research. The study was funded by the Office of Victims of Crime, Department of Justice , under a grant awarded to the National Center for Victims of Crime, which subcontracted with the Crimes against Children Research Center to conduct the data collection. The National Children’s Alliance and an Advisory board of experts assisted.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019

Keywords

  • Avoidance
  • Child pornography
  • Embarrassment
  • Guilt
  • Psychopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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