Theoretical perspectives of male sexual abuse: conceptualization of a case study

J Child Sex Abus. 2012;21(2):131-54. doi: 10.1080/10538712.2012.659804.


The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the traumatic impact that sexual abuse can have on a young male's development by addressing mediating dispositions that can render a child vulnerable to the effects of sexual abuse. Consideration is given to three different theoretical perspectives that are not exclusive to male victims but shed light on the impact that sexual abuse can have on the development of a young boy. These perspectives include early family relationships and attachment theory, developmental psychopathology, and trauma theory. These theoretical lenses provide a conceptual understanding into why some victims are vulnerable to the effects of sexual abuse. Each theoretical view is applied to a case study of an adolescent male with a history of early trauma and sexual abuse. Clinical implications are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Child Psychiatry
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Men's Health*
  • Object Attachment*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Social Support