Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Stigma, and Trauma: A Detrimental Trio for an Altered Sense of Self
Lanctot N, Turcotte M, Pascuzzo K, Collin-Vezina D, Laurier C. (2021). Commercial sexual exploitation, stigma, and trauma: a detrimental trio for an altered sense of self. Journal of child sexual abuse, 30(6), 703-721.
This study aimed to assess whether, and to what extent, the commercial sexual exploitation of female adolescents placed in residential care predicted different manifestations of an altered sense of self in emerging adulthood while considering the possible confounding effects of child maltreatment and perceived stigmatization. Data were gathered in a broader longitudinal study conducted among a sample of 124 female adolescents placed in residential youth care centers. Commercial sexual exploitation was self-reported during adolescence. Altered sense of self was self-reported in emerging adulthood with the following dependent variables: sense of failure, sense of defensiveness and shame, lack of self-awareness, and other-directedness. Findings suggest that, even after accounting for the significant effects of confounding variables, commercial sexual exploitation increases specific vulnerabilities pertaining to identity development. This creates unique intervention needs among young women. Our study adds to the literature by highlighting the unique influence of commercial sexual exploitation experiences among vulnerable female adolescents on their sense of self in young adulthood. Our results point to the relevance of considering the intersection of trauma and stigmatization when working with and providing services to adolescent females with a history of commercial sexual exploitation.