A comparison of psychological/psychiatric symptomatology of women and men sexually abused as children

Child Abuse Negl. 1999 Jul;23(7):683-92. doi: 10.1016/s0145-2134(99)00041-1.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore gender differences in symptomatology among sexual abuse survivors utilizing a standardized measure of specific symptom patterns, the Symptom Checklist 90-Revised (SCL-90-R).

Method: Gender differences in symptomatology of adults sexually victimized as children were examined. Participants were 162 women and 25 men entering an outpatient treatment program for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) in a university-based community mental health center. Symptomatology was measured using the Symptom Checklist 90-Revised (SCL-90-R).

Results: Although no differences appeared when examining the raw data, the results changed dramatically once the data were converted into T-scores and epidemiological SCL-90-R gender differences were taken into account. The findings indicate that men exhibited significantly more interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, and phobic anxiety than women in relation to their respective normative samples.

Conclusions: The use of nonclinical T-scores in this study allows for the interpretation that men survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) have higher levels of symptomatology than women survivors when compared to their respective normative samples.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / diagnosis
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Development*
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Factors