UB faculty contribute to new measure to help treat survivors of child sexual abuse

Published August 7, 2023


Braden Linn

Braden Linn.

Lisa Butler

Lisa Butler.

University at Buffalo School of Social Work faculty members Braden K. Linn, PhD, and Lisa D. Butler, PhD, have published their study, "Emotional Betrayal from Child Sexual Abuse Measure (EBSCAM): A Psychometric Analysis," in Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy.

Molly Wolf, PhD, associate professor and chair of the Social Work Department at PennWest Edinboro, led the project with co-authors Linn, visiting assistant professor, and Butler, associate professor.


Objective: This study examined the psychometric properties of a new scale, the Emotional Betrayal from Child Sexual Abuse Measure (EBCSAM), which assesses feelings of betrayal in adult survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA). Emotional betrayal is examined with respect to the perpetrator, as well as others in the survivor's immediate environment (i.e., family, friends, etc.), during the time of the abuse.

Method: A sample of 342 CSA survivors were anonymously surveyed online in order to examine the psychometric properties of the EBCSAM.

Results: The original 16-item measure did not produce a good-fitting model, nor was it considered reliable or valid. Instead, a shortened six-item measure produced a successful model, was reliable (overall Cronbach's α = .85), and exploratory/confirmatory factor analyses suggested two valid latent subscales (Perpetrator Betrayal and Environmental Betrayal).

Conclusion: This measure could be useful to clinicians treating survivors of child sexual abuse, as well as researchers, to reveal and evaluate aspects of emotional betrayal that impacted survivors.

Graphic with hand over a person's face.

This research contributes to one of the Grand Challenges for Social Work tackling our nation's toughest social problems: Build healthy relationships to end violence.