Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education and Human Services


Family Science and Human Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Jonathan Caspi

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Katia Paz Goldfarb

Committee Member

Pauline Garcia-Reid


The existing understanding of the culture of nondisclosure of sexual abuse is almost entirely absent. It lacks a theoretical framework, an empirical exploration into how it occurs in family relationships, and little is known about disclosure barriers in practice. This dissertation will address these three areas through three separate but related papers. First, the researcher will present a new cohesive theoretical framework that integrates and expands on existing theories for nondisclosure and that incorporates how individual decision-making is nested within social and familial contexts. Second, the researcher will report on an exploratory research study about sibling relationships regarding sexual abuse disclosure. Finally, the researcher will present an interview guide for practitioners that aims to transform survivors’ consciousness around barriers to disclosure. This dissertation seeks to provide a comprehensive understanding of nondisclosure of sexual abuse that addresses theory, research, and practice, in three separate but related papers. The culmination of these items elucidates the culture of nondisclosure of sexual abuse.