Childhood Maltreatment and Revictimization in a Homeless Population

J Interpers Violence. 2016 Sep;31(14):2492-512. doi: 10.1177/0886260515576972. Epub 2015 Mar 26.


We examined the hypothesis that exposure to childhood maltreatment increases the vulnerability to Adult Victimization (AV) in a homeless population (N = 500). We also investigated the effects of specific types (emotional, physical, and sexual) and cumulative experience of childhood maltreatment on AV, and whether gender moderates these relationships. All three groups with AV experience (emotional, physical, and sexual) indicated higher exposure to childhood abuse and cumulative maltreatment, and those who were sexually victimized as an adult showed higher exposure to childhood neglect. In addition, exposure to childhood maltreatment had type-specific and cumulative effects on AV. Exposure to all types of childhood abuse maintained a strong direct association with AV, regardless of demographic characteristics, including age, ethnicity, marital status, education level, and housing situation. In addition, exposure to physical neglect showed a significant relationship with Adult Sexual Victimization. Cumulative experience of childhood maltreatment was consistently associated with cumulative risk of experiencing AV. Gender had no significant effect on these relationships. Findings suggest that intervention programs in homeless population should consider the history of childhood maltreatment and its characteristics to increase the effectiveness of intervention strategies for AV in this population.

Keywords: Childhood maltreatment; adult victimization; homeless; revictimization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse* / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child Abuse* / statistics & numerical data
  • Crime Victims* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Homeless Persons*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Offenses / statistics & numerical data
  • Violence* / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult