Marika Handfield, PhD student, Université de Montréal, Canada
Isabelle Daigneault, Researcher, Université de Montréal, Canada
Tonino Esposito, Researcher, Université de Montréal, Canada
Placement instability has been frequently associated with distrust and powerlessness, which have been linked to increased internalized and externalized problems in child sexual abuse victims (Hébert et al., 2016; Monette et al., 2008). Therefore, placement instability could predict internalised and externalised problems in child sexual abuse victims. The hypothesis is that placement changes will be associated with greater rates of consultation and hospitalisation for mental health in child sexual abuse victims. Participants (N=882) were systematically selected when receiving a corroborated report of child sexual abuse at the Quebec Youth Center from January 1st 2001 to December 31 2010. Using hierarchical regression to control for known predictors of mental health and placement instability (Esposito et al., 2014), results indicate that the number of placement changes does not significantly predict the number of consultations and hospitalisations for mental health. This study demonstrates that number of placement is not systematically associated with greater mental health problems in child sexual abuse victims and shows. However, placement changes can sometimes be associated with a sense of control and power when initiated by the child (Hébert et al., 2016). Therefore, it is possible that placement changes are associated with greater mental health problems in child sexual abuse victims, but only when experiencing powerlessness. Prostitution can be used to recover control when experiencing placement instability (Coy, 2009). Considering that child sexual abuse victims are twice as likely to experience instability, further studies should inquire the relationship between placement changes and perceived powerlessness in child sexual abuse victims.
Key-words: child sexual abuse, placement changes, mental health