Trauma Characteristics and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder among Adolescent Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

J Fam Violence. 2014 Jul;29(5):559-566. doi: 10.1007/s10896-014-9613-6.


This study examined the relationship between the characteristics of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and the severity of consequent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, suicidal ideation, and substance use in a sample of 83 female adolescents aged 13-18 years seeking treatment for PTSD. Nearly two-thirds of the sample (60.7%, n = 51) reported the perpetrator of the CSA was a relative. A large portion (40.5%, n = 34) of the sample reported being victimized once, while almost a quarter of the sample reported chronic victimization (23.8%, n = 20). PTSD and depression scores were in the clinical range, whereas reported levels of suicidal ideation and substance use were low. The frequency of victimizations was associated with suicidal ideation. Contrary to expectation, CSA characteristics including trauma type, perpetrator relationship, and duration of abuse were unrelated to PTSD severity, depressive symptoms, or substance abuse.

Keywords: adolescent mental health; childhood sexual abuse; posttraumatic stress disorder.