The Concept Analysis of Healing from Child Abuse

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Hsin-Yi Chang, BS
Jui-Ying Feng, DNS, PNP
Department of Nursing, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: To understand and clarify the confusion about meanings and dimension of healing from child abuse.

Learning Objective 2: To understand the attributes, antecedents, and consequences of healing from child abuse as well as applications in practice and research.

Background: Child abuse is a serious global problem affecting the development, physical and mental health, and well-being of victims throughout their lives. Healing is a complicated and slow process for child abuse victims. The concept of “healing from child abuse” remains vague and confusing. Lack of clear understanding of this concept prohibits the development of sophisticated research and appropriate interventions for victims of child abuse.

Purpose: The aims of this paper were to explore, identify, delineate, analyze and refine the concept of healing from child abuse, and to enhance better implementation in practice and research for nurses and other health professionals.

Methods: A wide range of literature search was conducted using “child abuse” and “healing” as keywords, and 40 articles published between 1989 and 2009 were identified. The Walker and Avant’s concept analysis method was used to analyze the concept of healing from child abuse.

Results: Healing from child abuse is a dynamic and ongoing process that could be achieved when one reaches a balance point or make a peace between the past self and the present self. Healing from child abuse is determined by two main dimensions: physical and psycho-socio-spiritual dimensions. The physical dimension represents  the reconstruction of the physical health and function as well as a sense of security from future threats, the psycho-socio-spiritual dimension encompasses the processes of releasing, reconnecting, and restoring the inner self and affection,  reconstructing a relationship with others or self, and reconciling a sense of perceived well-being including wholeness and transformation. Antecedents consist of awareness and motivation. The consequence is a state of equilibrium and harmony.

Conclusion: A clear definition of healing from child abuse assists clinical practitioners provide more effective and better care to the individuals suffered from child abuse. Further development of measurement and research can also be followed.