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Sexual Victimization: Is There a Vicious Cycle?1

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A review of the literature on sexual abuse suggests that many women are repeatedly victimized. To examine the relationship between child and adult sexual victimization, 282 female undergraduates completed questionnaires describing child and adult incidents of sexual abuse. Personality measures (e.g., assertiveness, dependency, self-esteem, and attributional style) and situational variables (family background, and dating and sexual history) were measured to assess their relationship to victimization. Child victimization did not directly predict adult victimization; however, the number of both child and adult victimizations was related to the number of adult consensual sexual partners. A pattern of repeated adult victimization was identified for a group of victims of adult sexual abuse; however, such multiple victimization was not associated with any of the predicted personality variables. Further investigation of women who have been victimized as children and as adults and of adults who present with repeated victimization was identified as a necessary area for further research.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.

Publication date: 1989-01-01

More about this publication?
  • Violence and Victims discusses theory, research, policy, and clinical practice in the area of interpersonal violence and victimization across such disciplines as psychology, sociology, criminology, law, medicine, nursing, psychiatry, and social work.

    The journal's 2016 Impact Factor is 0.750.
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