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Child Abuse and Revictimization: Implications for Treatment and Research Lisa Van Bruggen, M.A. Marsha Runtz, Ph.D. Department of Psychology University.

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Presentation on theme: "Child Abuse and Revictimization: Implications for Treatment and Research Lisa Van Bruggen, M.A. Marsha Runtz, Ph.D. Department of Psychology University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Child Abuse and Revictimization: Implications for Treatment and Research Lisa Van Bruggen, M.A. Marsha Runtz, Ph.D. Department of Psychology University of Victoria Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

2 Background Recent research has found overlap between maltreatment types (Higgins & McCabe, 2003) A need to evaluate multiple forms of abuse when doing research A lack of articles examining Child Psychological Abuse (CPsychA) over the last 25 years (Behl, Conyngham & May, 2003)

3 Background Sexual Assault  15% of college or university women have experienced sexual assault since the age of 14 (Rozee & Koss, 2001) Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)  Later sexual assault is 2 to 3 times more likely for women who have experienced CSA (Arata, 2002) Child Physical Abuse (CPA)  Mixed findings as a risk factor for sexual assault CPsychA  No published studies have explored the role of CPsycA as a risk factor for sexual assault

4 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 Retrospective study Structural equation modeling was used to explore the role of sexual attitudes and behaviors as possible mediators between child abuse and later sexual assault 13-page anonymous and confidential questionnaires were completed by participants

5 Method: Participants Women402 Introductory Psychology Students YoungMedian age = 19.0 (SD = 2.6) Range = 17 to 43 years Single96.5% were not married Canadian Citizenship94% Caucasian Asian 84% 11.4% Parents’ Education 72% had attended college/university or had a professional degree Parents’ Income (Cdn$) < $40 000/year: 14% $40 to $59 999/year: 23% $60 to $79 999/year: 25% $80 000+/year: 40%

6 Measures Child Maltreatment Interview Schedule (Briere, 1992)  Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)  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., bruises or scratches )  Child Psychological Abuse (CPsycA)  By a parental guardian; E.g., “yell at you,” criticize you” & “ridicule or humiliate you”  7 statements ranging from 0 (never) to 6 (20+ times a year)

7 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

8 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

9 Results: Child Maltreatment CSA: 13% (n = 54)  39% (n = 21) interfamilial CSA  20% (n = 11) force used  56% (n = 30) defined their experience as CSA 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 CPsycA: M = 14.28 (SD = 9.84)  CPsycA was related to both CSA and CPA  CSA: t (397) = -2.28, p =.02  CPA: t (397) = -8.64, p <.001

10 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%)

11 CSA and the Mediating Variables 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 (Moral Judgement), F (1, 395) = 11.75, p <.001  Difficulty managing sexual thoughts, feelings, and interactions (Control), F (1, 393) = 6.53, p =.01  Greater incongruence between sexual thoughts and behaviors with personal goals (Adaptiveness), F (1, 393) = 4.13, p =.04 CSA was related to greater sexual concerns  t (397) = -2.6, p =.01

12 CSA and Sexual Assault Women with CSA are almost twice as likely as nonCSA women to experience later sexual assault, Wald (1) = 9.81, p <.01, Odds Ratio = 2.53

13 Results: CPsycA CPsycA related to lower sexual self-esteem, p <.001  Attractiveness r = -.27  Control r = -.25  Skill/Experience r = -.23  Moral Judgement r = -.21  Adaptiveness r = -.21 CPsycA was also correlated with:  Greater sexual concerns r =.16*  Dysfunctional sexual behaviors r =.19*  Sex on only one occasion r =.12* CPsycA was related to experiencing later sexual assault, r =.18*

14 Results: CPA CPA was not found to be related to any of the mediating variables CPA was related to sexual assault, t(400) = -2.50, p =.001  This relationship was no longer significant when CSA was controlled, F (1, 399) = 3.31, ns

15 Revictimization Standardized Coefficients Child Sexual Abuseβ =.17, p =.001 Child Psychological Abuse β =.15, p =.007 Child Physical Abusens  The 3 child maltreatment variables were entered simultaneously in a multiple regression to predict sexual assault, F (3, 395) = 8.70, p <.001

16 Adaptiveness Moral Judgement Sexual Self Esteem Child Psych Abuse Sex with s/o only 1 time Dysfunctional Sexual Behaviors Sexual Assault After Age 14 Sexual Behaviors Results: Path Diagram Control Child Sexual Abuse -. -.87 -.48  2 (15) = 64.66 = Standardized Regression Coefficients  = Squared Multiple Correlations.64

17 Conclusions Among university women, a history of childhood sexual and psychological abuse were found to be related to later sexual assault The path analysis suggests that poor sexual self-esteem and dysfunctional sexual behaviors may play a role in mediating the influence of CSA and CPsycA 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

18 Conclusions There needs to be more research in how child psychological abuse relates to:  Other forms of abuse  Adolescent and adult adjustment  Involvement in romantic relationships with psychological abuse  Dating violence and sexual assault However, there are definitional and measurement issues that need to be discussed and resolved  E.g., What is psychological abuse and how should we measure it?

19 Clinical Relevance The results illustrate the need for increased prevention efforts  Educating young women of risk factors for sexual assault Help women to be aware of how they feel about their sexuality, and how such feelings may influence their sexual behaviors

20 Clinical Relevance Provide information on the psychological effects of victimization experiences, 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)

21 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

22 Contact information Lisa Van Bruggen & Marsha Runtz Department of Psychology University of Victoria Victoria, BC, V8W 3P5 (250) 472-4177 (250) 721-8929 (fax) email: or

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