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Healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Meta-Synthesis of Qualitative Studies

Sookyung Jeong, Chiyoung Cha
Journal of Child Sexual Abuse 2019 March 11, : 1-17
Although the global prevalence of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is very high, the experience of healing after such abuse has not been well documented. The goal of this study was to characterize the healing experience among CSA survivors presented in the literature. Metaethnography was used to synthesize an integrative literature review. The CINAHL, PubMed, PsycINFO, and Web of Science databases were used as data sources. Eight articles that explored healing experiences from CSA, published between 2007 and 2017, were included in the analysis. After performing a quality assessment, line-of-argument synthesis was used to construct the integrating scheme of healing experiences from CSA. CSA healing experiences included dissociating oneself from the memories of CSA, finding peace by creating a comfort zone, disclosure as the start of healing, attempting to establish identity through ongoing self-reflective activities, feeling comfort by sharing experiences and connecting with CSA survivors, and accepting CSA as part of the life history and stepping forward. Healing experiences from CSA synthesized from the analysis focused on personal growth, supporting previous theory on CSA health in the broader literature. A tailored care plan could be developed for CSA survivors who are at varying stages of healing.


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