This study tested the hypothesis that childhood victimization leads to increased risk for subsequent revictimization in adolescence and adulthood; and, if so, whether there are differences in rates of experiencing traumas and victimizations by gender, race/ethnicity, and type of childhood abuse and/or neglect.
The study found that individuals abused and neglected as children reported a higher number of traumas and victimization experiences than controls. All types of childhood victimization (physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect) were associated with increased risk for lifetime revictimization; however, the increase in the risk of revictimization was confined to victimizations that can be broadly described as “interpersonal violence.” Such victimizations included physical assault/abuse, sexual assault/abuse, kidnapping and/or stalking, and experiencing a family member/friend dying as a result of murder or suicide. There were some differences in experiences of revictimization by race/ethnicity and gender. These findings suggest the need for early intervention with abused and neglected children and their families, in order to prevent subsequent exposure to traumas and victimization experiences. The study used a prospective cohort design. Participants were individuals with documented cases of childhood physical and sexual abuse, as well as neglect during the years 1967 through 1971. A matched control group of individuals who had not experienced such childhood abuse and neglect was also created for comparison purposes. Of the 1,575 persons in the original sample, 1,307 subjects (83 percent) were located, and 1,196 (76 percent) were interviewed during 1989-1995. Of the 1,196 individuals interviewed, (93 percent) were located, and 896 were reinterviewed during 2000-2002. Data for the current analysis were based on 892 individuals. The Lifetime Trauma and Victimization History were used to elicit a comprehensive lifetime trauma and victimization history in the context of a structured in-person interview. 6 tables and 42 references