J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Nurs. 2005 Jan-Mar;18(1):10-6.
Sexual abuse of boys.
Sexual abuse in childhood can disable self-esteem, self-concept, relationships, and ability to trust. It can also leave psychological trauma that compromises a boy’s confidence in adults. While some boys who willingly participate may adjust to sexual abuse, many others face complications, such as reduced quality of life, impaired social relationships, less than optimal daily functioning, and self-destructive behavior. These problems can respond to treatment if detected.
In this paper, we examine the prevalence, characteristics, psychological consequences, treatment, and coping patterns of boys who have been sexually abused and their failure to disclose abuse unless asked during a therapeutic encounter. Nurses have a responsibility to detect the clues to sexual abuse, diagnose the psychological consequences, and advocate for protection and treatment.
Computerized literature search of the Medline and PsychInfo literature and books on sexual abuse of boys.
Psychological responses to abuse such as anxiety, denial, self-hypnosis, dissociation, and self-mutilation are common. Coping strategies may include being the angry avenger, the passive victim, rescuer, daredevil, or conformist. Sexual abuse may precipitate runaway behavior, chronic use of sick days, poor school or job performance, costly medical, emergency and or mental health visits. In worst cases, the boy may decide that life is not worth living and plan suicide. The nurse has a key role to play in screening, assessing, and treating sexual abuse children.