The revictimization of child sexual abuse survivors: an examination of the adjustment of college women with child sexual abuse, adult sexual assault, and adult physical abuse

Child Maltreat. 2000 Feb;5(1):18-27. doi: 10.1177/1077559500005001003.


Child sexual abuse (CSA) is associated with greater vulnerability to victimization in adulthood. Such experiences may have a cumulative effect. This study compared the adjustment of 633 women experiencing revictimization, multiple adult victimizations, single adult victimization, CSA only, or no victimization. Somatization, depression, anxiety, interpersonal sensitivity, hostility, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology were examined. Results support the cumulative effect of trauma but do not indicate differential effects for child to adult revictimization. Women with revictimization and multiple adult assaults reported more difficulties compared to women with only one form of adult abuse or no victimization. Women with CSA only reported similar symptoms as revictimized women and women with multiple adult assaults reported higher levels of distress than nonabused women and appeared somewhat more likely to experience anxiety and PTSD-related symptoms as compared to women with only adult abuse. Women with adult assault only and no abuse reported similar levels of distress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Battered Women / psychology*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors