Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Pamela Remer

Second Advisor

Dr. Jeff Reese


Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a complex issue among African American children, who experience significantly higher rates of CSA (Sedlak et al., 2012). Despite this, a dearth of research has examined CSA prevention among African American children. Moreover, there are no established culturally sensitive prevention programs targeted at addressing CSA among this demographic. This study addressed a significant gap in the literature by developing and evaluating the Speak7 African American Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program (Speak7). Speak7 is a culturally sensitive, adult-focused CSA prevention program that aims to enhance the CSA prevention competence of adults who provide for African American children. Speak7 was developed by the principal investigator of this study using the National Standards for the Primary Prevention of Sexual Assault through Education (Carmody et al., 2009). Speak7 was evaluated using a formative approach to assess and enhance the acceptability of this intervention for African American adults. A qualitative design consisting of a pilot intervention with a focus group and key informant interviews was adopted to enable a detailed exploration of African American adults’ perceptions of Speak7’s program design, strengths, weaknesses, cultural congruence, and value. Qualitative data were analyzed using thematic content analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Nine themes emerged from the data: (1) acceptable design, (2) identified strengths, (3) identified weaknesses, (4) culturally appropriate, (5) valued by targets, (6) recommendations, (7) appropriate for targets, (8) dynamic engagement, and (9) views of CSA. Findings reveal critical insights into participants’ perspectives regarding the acceptability of Speak7 and inform program revisions.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)