Male Childhood Sexual Abuse, Self-Compassion, and Trauma Symptoms

How to Cite

RomanoE., LyonsJ., & St. John E. (2015). Male Childhood Sexual Abuse, Self-Compassion, and Trauma Symptoms . International Journal of Child and Adolescent Resilience, 3(1), 34-51. Retrieved from


Objectives: There is limited research that has examined self-compassion among adult males who have experienced childhood sexual abuse. The current study investigated the potential role of self-compassion on post-traumatic stress symptoms in this population. In addition, we helped advance knowledge in the area of childhood sexual abuse by focusing on a range of sexual abuse characteristics (e.g., duration, relationship between the child and perpetrator) and by including other experiences of maltreatment (given that most victimized individuals have been exposed to more than one type). Methods: Participants were recruited from across Canada and the U.S. through websites for males with histories of childhood sexual abuse. Data were collected from 213 adult males who anonymously completed an on-line study. Results: Regression analyses indicated that childhood sexual abuse that was longer in duration and involved the use (or threat) of physical violence was associated with greater post-traumatic stress, as were the presence of emotional abuse and the absence of exposure to intimate partner violence. Once self-compassion was taken into account, these associations were no longer significant, with the exception of emotional abuse. Moreover, greater self-compassion was associated with fewer symptoms of posttraumatic stress, and it predicted 18% of the variance. Conclusion: Future research needs to continue examining the role of self-compassion on adult males’ maltreatment-related psychosocial outcomes. It also needs to take into account sexual abuse characteristics and other forms of maltreatment, given the common co-occurrence of different maltreatment types among children who experience victimization. Implications: Findings point to the importance of including self-compassion interventions as part of one’s clinical work with adult males who have experienced childhood sexual abuse. It is also important to understand the full nature of individuals’ sexual abuse experiences as well as any other forms of maltreatment to which they may have been exposed.