Resiliency in Sexually Abused Children and Adolescents seen at the Child Protection Unit of a Tertiary Government Hospital

  • Norieta Calma-Balderrama
Keywords: resiliency, sexual abuse


Resiliency is “the capacity to withstand, recover, and even grow
from negative experiences.” (Banaag, 1997) This study examines the
demographic characteristics and most common resiliency factors
seen in sexually abused pre-adolescents and adolescents screened
for mental illness at the University of the Philippines-Philippine
General Hospital (UP-PGH) Child Protection Unit. The subjects of the
study were all sexually abused children and adolescents screened at
the Child Protection Unit from January to April 2009 who were not
found to have any behavioral problems or mental disorders. Of the
28 subjects, 19 were adolescent and 9 were pre-adolescent. Sixteen
subjects were legitimate children and seventeen were not enrolled
in school during the interview. Seven of the subjects only completed
grade 3 while seven completed grade 6; and fourteen students were
in high school. Among the children who had parents who were
not married, they had more than four household members. All the
subjects had low socioeconomic backgrounds and were mostly being
cared for by their mothers. Using the resiliency scale translated by
Cadao, Rubia and Banson ( Cadao, et al. 2008), 36 items were found
to contribute to their resiliency. The items that were also the most
common resiliency factors in the order of importance were: verbal
ability as part of interpersonal skills; spirituality; adult support; the
child’s use of her talents; and opportunities for major life changes. This
study differs in some aspects compared with other studies done in the
Philippines and will be helpful in mapping out resiliency modules for
sexually abused adolescents.