B4406 - Factors that Predict Immune Function Resilience of Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse - 11/09/2023

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Sandra Rasmusssen | Walden University: College of Psychology & Community Services (United States)
Samantha Colombo, Mrs.
Title of project: 
Factors that Predict Immune Function Resilience of Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Proposal summary: 

Not long ago, we learned the extent to which adverse childhood experiences (ACE) lead to long-term physical and psychological health problems (Felitti et al., 1998). In the last two-and-a-half decades, there have been continuing developments in the research of why and how adverse childhood experiences lead to death and illness in adulthood. Now, thanks to current research, we have a better understanding of why and how adverse childhood experiences increase morbidity. Inflammation is increased in those with adverse childhood experiences (Rasmussen et al., 2020). Chronic inflammation increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes mellitus, autoimmune, and many other health concerns (Furman et al., 2019). Although researchers have investigated this issue, the topic has not been explored in this way: Despite knowing that ACE increases health concerns through inflammation, there is very little research regarding variables that promote resiliency of immune health. Additionally, there is minimal research that confronts the specific trauma experienced by those with childhood sexual abuse (CSA). The specific research problem that will be addressed through this study is that we do not know whether and to what extent environmental factors are associated with healthier immune function among survivors of CSA.

From a psychoneuroimmunological foundation, a collection of variables among survivors will be analyzed as potential protective factors. These variables include ease to talk about problems with parents, feelings of closeness to parents, religiosity, involvement in sports or other after-school activities, religiosity, and feeling close to someone. Then, various inflammatory biomarkers will be analyzed and a relationship between factors and biomarkers will be explored.

Impact of research: 
This study is significant in that there are many mental and physical health concerns increased in those who survived childhood sexual abuse and experience chronic stress from the trauma. The significance of this study is to find factors that aid in mitigating these concerns through immune function resilience. Inflammation is the specific aspect of immune function considered, which is important for many physical and mental health concerns. Finding factors to implement, embrace, and encourage those who experienced abuse could aid in reducing these health concerns. Understanding these factors can help inform treatment plans of children who have experienced CSA and inform their parents of factors that help mitigate the adverse health effects, thus promoting positive social change.
Date proposal received: 
Sunday, 10 September, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 11 September, 2023