Predicting Sexual Revictimization in Childhood and Adolescence: A Longitudinal Examination Using Ecological Systems Theory

Samantha L. Pittenger, Jessica K. Pogue, David J. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


A substantial proportion of sexual abuse victims report repeat sexual victimization within childhood or adolescence; however, there is limited understanding of factors contributing to revictimization for youth. Thus, the present study examined predictors of sexual revictimization prior to adulthood using ecological systems theory. Records of 1,915 youth presenting to a Child Advocacy Center (CAC) were reviewed to identify individual, familial, and community factors as well as initial abuse characteristics associated with risk for revictimization. Results showed that 11.1% of youth re-presented to the CAC for sexual revictimization. At the individual level, younger children, girls, ethnoracial minority youth, and those with an identified mental health problem were most likely to experience revictimization. Interpersonal factors that increased vulnerability included the presence of a noncaregiving adult in the home, being in mental health treatment, and domestic violence in the family. Community-level factors did not predict revictimization. When factors at all levels were examined in conjunction, however, only individual-level factors significantly predicted the risk for revictimization. Findings from this study provide valuable information for CACs when assessing risk for re-report of sexual abuse and add to the field’s understanding of revictimization within childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-146
Number of pages10
JournalChild Maltreatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • child sexual abuse
  • ecological models
  • repeat victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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