Cumulative trauma: the impact of child sexual abuse, adult sexual assault, and spouse abuse

J Trauma Stress. 1996 Jan;9(1):25-35. doi: 10.1007/BF02116831.


The present study investigated the relationship between trauma symptoms and a history of child sexual abuse, adult sexual assault, and physical abuse by a partner as an adult. While there has been some research examining the correlation between individual victimization experiences and traumatic stress, the cumulative impact of multiple victimization experiences has not been addressed. Subjects were recruited from psychological clinics and community advocacy agencies. Additionally, a nonclinical undergraduate student sample was evaluated. The results of this study indicate not only that victimization and revictimization experiences are frequent, but also that the level of trauma specific symptoms are significantly related to the number of different types of reported victimization experiences. The research and clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*