Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Cunningham, Nancy J.

Author's Keywords

CSA; Belize CSA; CSA predictors; CSA and alcohol use; CSA correlates; CSA and family violence; Cross-national; Child sexual abuse; Belize; Sexual abuse


Child molesters; Child sexual abuse--Research; Child sexual abuse--Diagnosis


An exploratory cross national study was conducted to determine if factors identified in the existing literature predictive for CSA in developed countries were also valid and predictive CSA factors for females in Belize, a developing country. The conceptual framework adapted from current CSA literature included the choice of CSA definition, the number and specificity of questions used to elicit CSA response and the questionnaire response rate. Variables investigated were adopted from CSA literature and included: the presence of a stepfather in the family, parent figure (mother figure, father figure) alcohol use, parent figure (mother figure, father figure) child care, family violence (mother figure, father figure) and child having a small number of friends and not having anyone to confide in. Additionally, variables of particular interest to developing countries which included varied ethnicity, income level, religious affiliation, education, and family type were also examined. T-tests and Chi square tests were used to investigate the independence of CSA and the factors hypothesized as CSA correlates. Also a General Linear Model (GLM) analysis was used to determine which of the factors found at the bivariate level to be significant correlates of CSA were predictors of CSA. The t-tests identified parental family violence and parent figure child care as significant CSA correlates while the chi-square tests results identified presence of a stepfather and father figure alcohol use as CSA correlates. In addition, GLM analysis confirmed the correlates identified at the bivariate level as CSA predictors. All other variables examined were not statistically significant. The findings lend support to the hypothesis that factors predictive of CSA in developed countries are also predictive of CSA in developing countries. Since this is only one study to test this hypothesis other studies with similar methodologies are required to confirm the conclusion. Implications, both theoretical and practical, are proposed and a short discussion on factor interaction is included.