Cycle Of Abuse Model

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The cycle of abuse model describes sexually abusive behaviour as being part of a maladaptive response to stressors in a young person’s life (O’Reilly & Carr, 2004). It is worth noting that Lane’s ‘abuse cycle’ is a descriptive model (Level III), and not one which purports to define the various causal factors that lead to sexually abusive behaviour (Ward et al., 2006). It consists of three main stages or phases: the precipitating phase, the compensatory phase and finally the integration phase (Lane, 1997).

According to this model a stressful event can result in low self‐esteem and feelings of powerlessness (Lane, 1997). As with the Marshall and Barbaree (1990) model, this contributes to feelings of helplessness, thus causing the adolescent
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Although they may experience feelings of adequacy, these can quickly turn to more negative feelings as they become concerned with why the abuse was not as gratifying as they had imagined, or with fear of the negative consequences – such as people finding out. Cognitive distortions can, once again, serve as a coping mechanism for these fears. These can include justifications and rationalisations for abuse-related behaviours (‘I will never do that again’, ‘she will never tell’), which are made in order to suppress the negative affect experienced as a consequence of sexually abusing (Grant et al., 2009). Ultimately, despite the re-assuring nature of these distortions, the young person experiences self-doubt, and is susceptible to respond in an overly sensitive manner to events in which they feel slighted or inadequate – and thus the cycle can begin…show more content…
This theory suggested that sexual abuse occurs due to a variety of neurological, biological and ecological factors which interact and lead to clinical symptoms that contribute to the occurrence of abuse (Ward & Beech, 2006).
An individual’s genetic predisposition along with social learning have a significant impact on brain development and result in the establishment of three interlocking neuropsychological systems (Ward et al., 2006). According to the ITSO genetic predispositions and social learning interact to establish individuals’ psychological functioning. The level of functioning in turn may be compromised in some way by poor genetic inheritance, biological issues or developmental adversity (Ward et al., 2006). Such functioning problems can result in an individual struggling to cope adaptively, and resultant vulnerabilities may lead to sexually abusive behaviour under certain circumstances (Ward et al., 2006). These vulnerabilities can develop and emerge in different ways, and the ITSO suggests that those who sexually abuse could present with a variety of clinically significant issues. Ward and Beech (2006) put forward four symptoms that could arise from the interaction between an individual’s

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