Prior victimization: a risk factor for child sexual abuse and for PTSD-related symptomatology among sexually abused youth.

Academic Article


  • The experience of prior victimization (sexual and nonsexual) was found to increase children's risk for experiencing later child sexual abuse (CSA) in a national random sample of 2,000 American children aged 10-16 years. Prior victimization predicted subsequent CSA even when background variables (child's gender, race, age, geographic location, quality of relationship with parents, and relative level of violence in the home community) were controlled for. In addition, the prior victimization of a family member also predicted later CSA. Among children who experienced CSA, prior victimization increased the level of post-traumatic stress symptomatology, even after demographic factors and characteristics of the CSA episode (e.g., severity of the assault, severity of injury, fear of death or serious injury) were included in the model. These results suggest that prior victimization is a factor that needs to be addressed by educators who design CSA prevention interventions and by mental health professionals who counsel child victims of sexual abuse.
  • Authors

  • Boney-McCoy, S
  • Finkelhor, David
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • December 1995
  • Published In


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 8777692
  • Start Page

  • 1401
  • End Page

  • 1421
  • Volume

  • 19
  • Issue

  • 12