Characteristics of child sexual abuse as correlates of women's adjustment: A prospective study


Recent theoretical frameworks that explain the effects of childhood sexual abuse have encouraged the study of the associations between certain characteristics of abusive experiences and mental health outcomes. The assessment of abuse characteristics, however, has created a new set of methodological problems for measurement and analysis. This article presents findings on the associations between characteristics of abuse and mental health outcomes from a prospective study of 136 women. The strongest associations were among the experience of physical force and a close victim-offender relationship during abuse and increased levels of current mental health symptoms. Analyses were repeated for both prospective and retrospective accounts of the abuse incident, and the pros and cons of these different sources of information are discussed.

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Journal of Marriage and Family


National Council on Family Relations

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