Storying childhood sexual abuse

Claire Burke Draucker, Donna S. Martsolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


A theoretical framework that explains how survivors of childhood sexual abuse tell others about their abuse experiences is presented. Data are drawn from open-ended interviews conducted with 74 individuals who experienced ongoing childhood sexual abuse by a family member or close acquaintance. Grounded theory methods were used to develop the framework. The psychosocial problem shared by the participants is that childhood sexual abuse both demands and defies explanation. The core psychosocial process used in response to this problem is storying childhood sexual abuse. The framework includes five processes, and the stories associated with each process vary in their nature and function. The processes and associated stories are (a) starting the story: the story-not-yet-told, (b) coming out with the story: the story-first-told, (c) shielding the story: the story-as-secret, (d) revising the story: the story-as-account, and (e) sharing the story: the story-as-message. Clinical applications of the framework are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1034-1048
Number of pages15
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Abuse
  • Abuse of
  • Children
  • Grounded theory
  • Narratives
  • Sexual
  • Stories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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