The association between childhood maltreatment, psychopathology, and adult sexual victimization in men and women: Results from three independent samples

K. B. Werner, V. V. McCutcheon, M. Challa, A. Agrawal, M. T. Lynskey, E. Conroy, D. J. Statham, P. A.F. Madden, A. K. Henders, A. A. Todorov, A. C. Heath, L. Degenhardt, N. G. Martin, K. K. Bucholz, E. C. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Childhood maltreatment (CM) has consistently been linked with adverse outcomes including substance use disorders and adult sexual revictimization. Adult sexual victimization itself has been linked with psychopathology but has predominately been studied in women. The current investigation examines the impact of CM and co-occurring psychopathology on adult sexual victimization in men and women, replicating findings in three distinct samples. Method We investigated the association between continuous CM factor scores and adult sexual victimization in the Childhood Trauma Study (CTS) sample (N = 2564). We also examined the unique relationship between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and adult sexual victimization while adjusting for co-occurring substance dependence and psychopathology. We replicated these analyses in two additional samples: the Comorbidity and Trauma Study (CATS; N = 1981) and the Australian Twin-Family Study of Alcohol Use Disorders (OZ-ALC; N = 1537). Results Analyses revealed a significant association with CM factor scores and adult sexual victimization for both men and women across all three samples. The CSA factor score was strongly associated with adult sexual victimization after adjusting for substance dependence and psychopathology; higher odds ratios were observed in men (than women) consistently across the three samples. Conclusions A continuous measure of CSA is independently associated with adult sexual trauma risk across samples in models that included commonly associated substance dependence and psychopathology as covariates. The strength of the association between this CSA measure and adult sexual victimization is higher in magnitude for men than women, pointing to the need for further investigation of sexual victimization in male community samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-573
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological medicine
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Keywords

  • Key words Adult sexual revictimization
  • childhood sexual abuse
  • childhood trauma
  • psychopathology
  • sex disparities

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