Child Sexual Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization in Adulthood: Sex-Differences in the Mediating Influence of Age of Sexual Initiation

J Child Sex Abus. 2018 Jan;27(1):53-69. doi: 10.1080/10538712.2017.1361496. Epub 2017 Oct 3.

Abstract

Child sexual abuse is a major public health concern in the United States with devastating sequelae. Although the relationship between child sexual abuse and intimate partner violence victimization in adulthood is known, little is known about the mediating influence of the age of sexual initiation on the association, or whether sex differences exist. Using data from waves I, III, and IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 1,163), we aimed to examine the mediating influence of age of sexual initiation on the association between child sexual abuse and intimate partner violence victimization in adulthood and identify sex differences. Findings reveal that in female survivors, age of sexual initiation partially mediated the association between child sexual abuse and physical intimate partner violence victimization in adulthood. In male survivors, no mediational effect was observed. Public health practitioners should be aware of sex differences in the effect of early sexual initiation on intimate partner violence victimization in adulthood among child sexual abuse survivors.

Keywords: adolescents; age of sexual initiation; child sexual abuse; intimate partner violence victimization; sex difference; young adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Age Factors
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / statistics & numerical data*
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult