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Current Psychological Functioning of Child Sexual Assault Survivors: A Community Study

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1988
25 pages
A Amick-McMullan, C L Best, D G Kilpatrick, S M Murphy, J Paduhovich, B E Saunders, L J Veronen, L A Villeponteaux
Interviews were conducted in South Carolina with a community sample of 391 women to obtain a thorough history of lifetime victimization experiences, including experiences such as childhood and adult sexual assault, robbery, and burglary.
To assess current psychological functioning, participants were administered the Derogatis Symptom Checklist-90 Revised, the Modified Fear Survey, and the Impact of Event Scale. Results indicated that childhood sexual abuse victims could be distinguished from nonvictims by a pattern of elevated anxiety, heightened interpersonal sensitivity, increased anger problems, more paranoid ideation, and increased obsessive-compulsive symptoms. The age at which sexual assault took place was related to current adult functioning, with women assaulted in adolescence displaying greater elevations in hostility, interpersonal sensitivity, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, anxiety, and paranoid ideation than nonvictims. Women sexually abused early in childhood displayed only elevated anxiety as adults, although they also showed significantly more psychological symptoms on a global mental health measure than did nonvictims. Revictimization was strongly related to increased symptomatology. 33 references and 6 tables. (Author abstract modified)
Date Created: December 30, 1988