Childhood maltreatment and adulthood victimization: An evidence-based model

Fatemeh Fereidooni, Judith K Daniels*, Anne D Krause-Utz, Muriel A Hagenaars, Tom Smeets, Jenna Heins, Martin J Dorahy, Arnold A P van Emmerik, Peter J de Jong, Steven Hoekstra, Matthijs J Warrens, Miriam J J Lommen

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

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There is ample evidence showing that childhood maltreatment increases two to three fold the risk of victimization in adulthood. Various risk factors, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, dissociation, self-blame, and alcohol abuse are related to revictimization. Although previous research examined associations between risk factors for revictimization, the evidence is limited and the proposed models mostly include a handful of risk factors. Therefore, it is critical to investigate a more comprehensive model explaining the link between childhood maltreatment and adulthood (re)victimization. Accordingly, this study tested a data-driven theoretical path model consisting of 33 variables (and their associations) that could potentially enhance understanding of factors explaining revictimization. Cross-sectional data derived from a multi-wave study were used for this investigation. Participants (N = 2156, age mean = 19.94, SD = 2.89) were first-year female psychology students in the Netherlands and New Zealand, who responded to a battery of questionnaires and performed two computer tasks. The path model created by structural equation modelling using modification indices showed that peritraumatic dissociation, PTSD symptoms, trauma load, loneliness, and drug use were important mediators. Attachment styles, maladaptive schemas, meaning in life, and sex motives connected childhood maltreatment to adulthood victimization via other factors (i.e., PTSD symptoms, risky sex behavior, loneliness, emotion dysregulation, and sex motives). The model indicated that childhood maltreatment was associated with cognitive patterns (e.g., anxious attachment style), which in turn were associated with emotional factors (e.g., emotion dysregulation), and then with behavioral factors (e.g., risky sex behavior) resulting in revictimization. The findings of the study should be interpreted in the light of the limitations. In particular, the cross-sectional design of the study hinders us from ascertaining that the mediators preceded the outcome variable.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)46-62
Aantal pagina's17
TijdschriftJournal of Psychiatric Research
Vroegere onlinedatum6-okt.-2023
StatusPublished - nov.-2023

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