Sexual revictimization: a review of the empirical literature

Trauma Violence Abuse. 2005 Apr;6(2):103-29. doi: 10.1177/1524838005275087.


This article reviews the literature on sexual revictimization, covering approximately 90 empirical studies and includes a discussion of prevalence, risk factors, and correlates of sexual revictimization. Research suggests that two of three individuals who are sexually victimized will be revictimized. The occurrence of childhood sexual abuse and its severity are the best documented and researched predictors of sexual revictimization. Multiple traumas, especially childhood physical abuse, and recency of sexual victimization are also associated with higher risk. There is preliminary evidence that membership in some ethnic groups or coming from a dysfunctional family places an individual at a greater risk. Revictimization is associated with higher distress and certain psychiatric disorders. People who were revictimized show difficulty in interpersonal relationships, coping, self-representations, and affect regulation and exhibit greater self-blame and shame. Existing research on prevention efforts and treatment is discussed. More longitudinal studies on sexual revictimization are needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual* / prevention & control
  • Child Abuse, Sexual* / psychology
  • Child Abuse, Sexual* / rehabilitation
  • Child Abuse, Sexual* / statistics & numerical data
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Rape* / prevention & control
  • Rape* / psychology
  • Rape* / rehabilitation
  • Rape* / statistics & numerical data
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors