Traumagenic dynamics

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Traumagenic dynamics are factors that, according to David Finkelhor, mediate the psychological outcome of CSA victims by distorting their self-concept, worldview, and affective state. Although this model has had a great impact on the field of CSA research, relatively few studies have tested the model empirically. The four factors are betrayal, stigmatization, powerlessness, and traumatic sexualization.

To date, only a handful of studies, such as those of Hazzard, Celano, Gould, Lawry, and Webb (1995), Kallstrom-Fuqua et al. (2004), and Coffey et al. (1996) in the United States, or Dufour and Nadeau (2001) in Canada, have simultaneously examined the effects of several dynamics. Unfortunately, these studies have produced contradictory results. Hazzard et al. (1995) found that only powerlessness predicted general psychological distress, Coffey et al. (1996) found that stigmatization was the only significant predictor of distress, and Kallstrom-Fuqua et al. (2004) found that both dynamics predicted distress. Also, none of these studies found a significant effect of betrayal.[1]


  1. David Cantón-Cortés, María Rosario Cortés & José Cantón (2012). European Journal of Developmental Psychology 9 (6): 665-680. doi:10.1080/17405629.2012.660789.