The role of self-compassion and relation satisfaction in the association between child sexual abuse and sexual functioning

Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan*, Dana Lassri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The current study is based on the established association between child sexual abuse (CSA) and self-compassion, and CSA and sexual functioning, with an overall goal to better understand how self-compassion explains the association between CSA and sexual functioning. Aim: The current study examined the role of self-compassion as a potential mediator, and relationship satisfaction as a potential moderator, in the association between CSA and sexual functioning among a nonclinical sample of men and women. Methods: Participants completed an online survey assessing CSA, self-compassion, sexual functioning, and relationship satisfaction. The sample consisted of 914 individuals, of whom 582 reported currently being in a romantic relationship and were included in the current analysis. The majority of the sample was female (n = 534, 91.8%), with a mean age of 31.85 years (SD, 9.76). Outcomes: Self-compassion mediated the link between CSA and sexual dysfunction, and relationship satisfaction moderated this same link. Results: Results indicate that self-compassion mediated the association between CSA and sexual functioning. In addition, there was a significant 2-way interaction between CSA and intimate relationship satisfaction predicting sexual functioning. Specifically, CSA was negatively associated with sexual functioning only when there were low levels of relationship satisfaction, whereas in the presence of average and high intimate relationship satisfaction, the association between CSA and sexual functioning was nonsignificant. Clinical Implications: Findings from the current study suggest that clinicians working with CSA survivors should take into account survivors’ self-compassion and relational functioning when engaging in therapeutic work around their sexual dysfunction. Strengths and Limitations: The study included a nonclinical sample of individuals and used self-report measures, which are highly subjective and increase the possibility of social desirability biases. Additional research should be conducted among clinical samples and among couples to explore this model from a dyadic perspective. Conclusion: Our results highlight the importance of self-compassion and relationship satisfaction when considering sexual dysfunction following CSA.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)661-670
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 27 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The International Society of Sexual Medicine. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • child sexual abuse
  • relationship satisfaction
  • self-compassion
  • sexual functioning

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The role of self-compassion and relation satisfaction in the association between child sexual abuse and sexual functioning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this