Examining youth stage, the Erikson (1959)
psychosocial development stages the age range 12-18 years of youth is a
development process Identity vs Role Confusion. It’s a stage where adolescents
search for a sense and personal identity through an intense exploration of
personal values, beliefs and goals. Children become more independent and begin
to look at the future in terms of career, relationships, families and housing
considering children who never lived at home with parents and who need to be
prepared leaving care (Department for
Education, 2015) and (Broad, 2005). Children who’s coping strategies have been
defined as responses in the ecological framework that help manage a threat and
manage negative feelings associated with it, they may be particularly important
for those who experience sexual abuse for positive later life outcomes of
victims. Coping strategies can be adaptive or maladaptive (Daniel and Wassell,
2002). Adaptive strategies, such as problem solving, seeking support or information
and gaining a sense of control, are generally considered more helpful. Maladaptive
strategies, such as denial, disengagement or substance abuse, which may lead to
long-term problems because of Identity failure and belonging to society (Erikson,
1959) in response of sexual abuse causing crisis of role confusion in
society which adolescents may begin to experiment with different lifestyles.
Pressuring children into identity such as victims of sexual abuse can result in
rebellion in the form of establishing a negative identity and addition to this
feeling of unhappiness. Repeated sexual abuse will result in fear of being
blamed or not being believed, a lack of self-esteem and worthlessness, but also
misplaced loyalties towards the perpetrators. For many children, the
abuse equates to their first experience of sex and love, of which they have no
prior experience to measure it against. 


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