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Child Sexual Abuse and Sexual Revictimization in Young Women. Lisa Van Bruggen, M.A. Marsha Runtz, Ph.D. Department of Psychology University of Victoria Poster presented to the annual convention of the American Psychological Association , Aug. 2003, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Abstract.

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child sexual abuse and sexual revictimization in young women

Child Sexual Abuse and Sexual Revictimization in Young Women

Lisa Van Bruggen, M.A.

Marsha Runtz, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology

University of Victoria

Poster presented to the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Aug. 2003, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

abstract
Abstract
  • Sexual self-esteem, sexual concerns and behaviors, and sexual revictimization were examined in a university sample of 402 women.
  • Child sexual abuse (CSA) was associated with lower sexual self-esteem, greater sexual concerns, and later sexual assault.
  • The relationship between child maltreatment (i.e., CSA and psychological maltreatment) and revictimization was partially mediated by sexual self-esteem and dysfunctional sexual behaviors.
background
Background
  • 20% to 30% of university women have a history of CSA, and 15% have experienced sexual assault since the age of 14
  • CSA has a significant relationship with later sexual assault
    • Moderate effect size of .59 (Roodman & Clum, 2001)
  • Later sexual assault is 2 to 3 times more likely for women who have experienced CSA (Arata, 2002)
background1
Background
  • Factors related to revictimization include:
    • CSA involving physical contact (Mayall & Gold, 1995)
    • Intrafamilial CSA (Kessler & Bieschke, 1999)
    • Current sexual behaviors
      • E.g., high level of sexual activity (Mayall & Gold, 1995)
  • Traumatic sexualization and stigmatization(Finkelhor & Browne,1985)
    • Child’s sexuality is shaped in a developmentally inappropriate and interpersonally dysfunctional way
    • Feelings of badness, shame and guilt related to CSA

Theoretical Explanation

purpose of the study
Purpose of the study
  • The present study examined the relationships between child maltreatment before age 14 and sexual assault after age 14 in university women
  • Structural equation modeling was used to explore the role of sexual attitudes and behaviors as possible mediators between CSA and later sexual assault
  • 13-page anonymous and confidential questionnaires were completed by participants
measures
Measures
  • Child Maltreatment Interview Schedule(Briere, 1992)
    • CSA definition
      • Sexual contact before age 14 that involved force, or was with someone five+ years older, or was self-identified as CSA
    • Child Physical Abuse (CPA)
      • A physical and purposeful act by a parental guardian (e.g., being hit) that resulted in an injury (e.g., broken bones)
    • Child Psychological Maltreatment (CPM)
      • 7 statements ranging from 0 (never) to 6 (20+ times a year)
      • E.g., “yell at you,” “criticize you” and “ridicule or humiliate you”
measures1
Measures
  • Sexual Experiences Survey(Koss & Oros, 1982)
    • Sexual assault after age 14
      • Unwanted sexual contact
      • Sexual coercion
      • Attempted rape
      • Rape
  • Sexual Self-Esteem Inventory for Women(Zeanah & Schwartz, 1996)
      • Skill/Experience
      • Attractiveness
      • Control
      • Moral Judgement
      • Adaptiveness
measures2
Measures
  • Trauma Symptom Inventory(Briere, 1995)
    • 2 of the 10 scales used:
    • Sexual Concerns: e.g., “wishing that you didn’t have any sexual feelings”
    • Dysfunctional Sexual Behaviors: e.g., “having sex to keep from feeling lonely or sad”
  • Sociosexual Orientation Inventory(Simpson & Gangestad, 1991)
    • Number of sexual partners in the last year
    • Number of predicted sexual partners in the next five years
    • Number of partners participants had sex with on one and only one occasion
results child maltreatment
Results: Child Maltreatment
  • CSA: 13% (n = 54)
    • 39% (n = 21) interfamilial CSA
    • 20% (n = 11) force used
    • 56% (n = 30) defined their experience as sexual abuse
  • CPA: 14% (n = 55)
    • 16 women (30% of CSA survivors) experienced both CSA and CPA
    • Significant relationship between CSA and CPA, 2(1) = 13.43, p < .01
  • CPM: M = 14.28 (SD = 9.84)
    • CPM was related to other forms of child abuse
      • CSA: t (397) = -2.28, p = .02
      • CPA: t (397) = -8.64, p <.001
results sexual self esteem and sexual concerns
Results: Sexual Self-Esteem and Sexual Concerns
  • CSA was related to lower sexual self-esteem,F (5, 385) = 3.13, p = .01
    • Greater incongruence between sexual thoughts and behaviors and moral standards
      • F (1, 395) = 11.75, p < .001
    • Difficulty managing sexual thoughts, feelings, and interactions
      • F (1, 393) = 6.53, p = .01
    • Greater incongruence between sexual thoughts and behaviors with personal goals
      • F (1, 393) = 4.13, p = .04
  • CSA was related to greater sexual concerns
      • t (397) = -2.6, p = .01
results sexual assault after age 14
Results: Sexual Assault After Age 14
  • 36% (n = 145) of participants endorsed 1 or more questions on the Sexual Experiences Survey
  • Most common offenders were known to the victim:
    • Boyfriends/dates (51%)
    • Friends/acquaintances (36%)
results revictimization
Results: Revictimization
  • Women with CSA history were more likely than nonCSA women to experience later sexual assault, Wald(1) = 9.81, p = .002; Odds ratio = 2.53
results revictimization1
Results: Revictimization
  • The 3 child maltreatment variables were entered simultaneously in a multiple regression to predict sexual assault, F (3, 395) = 8.70, p <.001
slide15

Results: Path Diagram

Child

Sexual

Abuse

Control

.24

-.25

.33

.49

Sexual Self

Esteem

Child Psych

Maltreat-

ment

Adaptive-

ness

.18

.42

-.48

.51

-.87

Sex

with s/o

only 1 time

.20

Moral

Judgement

.26

.76

Sexual

Behaviors

.44

.60

Dysfunc.

Sexual

Behaviors

.36

Sexual

Assault

After Age 14

.42

.64

2(15) = 64.66

 = Standardized Regression Coefficients

  • = Squared Multiple Correlations
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Among university women, a history of child sexual abuse and child psychological maltreatment were found to be related to later sexual assault
  • Evidence of traumatic sexualization and stigmatization
    • Lower sexual self-esteem and greater sexual concerns in women who had experienced CSA and CPM
conclusions1
Conclusions
  • The path analysis suggests that poor sexual self-esteem and dysfunctional sexual behaviors may play a role in mediating the influence of CSA and CPM on later sexual assault
  • The results point to the need for additional research exploring the association between different types of child maltreatment and later sexual assault
    • E.g., there are no published studies examining the role of CPM as a risk factor for sexual assault
clinical relevance
Clinical Relevance
  • The results illustrate the need for increased prevention efforts
    • Educating young women of risk factors for sexual assault
    • Focus on self-protection while recognizing that it is the perpetrator who is ultimately responsible for any form of sexual victimization
  • Help women to be aware of how they feel about their sexuality, and how such feelings may influence their sexual behaviors
    • E.g., low sexual self-esteem may be related to dysfunctional sexual behaviors, such as multiple sexual partners and indiscriminant sexual behaviors
clinical relevance1
Clinical Relevance
  • Provide information on the psychological effects of victimization experiences (e.g., feelings of self-blame and guilt), and how factors related to victimization may put women at a higher risk for revictimization
    • E.g., problem-solving and communication skill deficits around making sexual decisions (Marx et al., 2001)
    • Lack of assertiveness in interpersonal relationships (Classen et al., 2001)
limitations of the study
Limitations of the Study
  • Issue of causality
    • E.g., experiencing sexual assault is also likely to affect sexual self-esteem and future sexual behaviors
  • Selection issues
    • Undergraduate university women may not be representative, thus limiting generalizability
  • Lack of cultural diversity
    • Predominantly Caucasian women
  • Only women in the study
    • Literature on revictimization focuses primarily on women’s experiences
  • Self-report retrospective questionnaire