Although both female and male survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) suffer various health/mental health problems across their lifespan, sexual abuse is often an overlooked public health issue among boys and men, and best practice knowledge to male survivors is limited and has been understudied. Therefore, there is limited understanding and evidence-based knowledge of the psychosocial impact of sexual victimization of males and the therapeutic interventions that are effective for male survivors. This study aims to evaluate male-centric treatment and its outcomes for adult male CSA survivors.
A one-group pretest-posttest design was employed to compare pretest (n = 463) with posttest (n = 109) scores regarding depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms of adult male survivors of sexual abuse. The data were collected from 18 government-funded male survivor programs in 12 county regions located in West Ontario, Canada from January 5th, 2011 to April 12th, 2018.
The results show statistically significant improvements on mental health symptoms after treatment with an effect size ranging from 0.7 (Medium) to 0.8 (Large): depression [t(108) = 7.5, p < .000. d = 0.7], anxiety [t(108) = 6.8, p < .000. d = 0.7], stress [t(108) = 7.9, p < .000. d = 0.8]. However, there was no comparative effectiveness between individual treatment and mixed treatment regarding depression [t(102) = 0.7, p = .459], anxiety [t(102) = 0.2, p = .800], stress [t(102) = 1.4, p = .162].
Conclusions and Implications:
Despite no statistical difference between individual and mixed treatments, the results confirmed that the two types of counselling were equally effective in reducing mental health symptoms. Given that service providers often develop treatment strategies based on a limited understanding and a lack of evidence-based knowledge of the male victimization and support, the proposed research seeks to provide health care professionals with practical guidance for selecting effective service modalities.