Thesis

Childhood sexual abuse as a risk factor for adult victimization: The influence of dissociative symptoms

Adult females were recruited from two sources (a college campus and online through a survey recruitment website) to participate in a study examining the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and adult victimization. Participants were given questionnaires to assess their experiences of childhood sexual abuse and adult victimization as well as symptoms of dissociation. It was predicted that women reporting histories of sexual abuse in childhood would report more pathological dissociation and more victimization experiences in adulthood. It was also predicted that levels of dissociation would mediate the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and adult victimization. A one-way ANOVA revealed that women with a history of childhood sexual abuse did experience more victimization in adulthood. A two-way ANOVA revealed that levels of dissociation were higher for women who reported victimization experiences in childhood or adulthood than those who reported no victimization. Finally, structural equation modeling confirmed the predicted mediating effect of dissociation on the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and adult victimization.

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