The occurrence and traumatic impact of sexual revictimization in newlywed couples

David DiLillo, Anna E. Jaffe, Laura E. Watkins, James Peugh, Amanda Kras, Christopher Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study examines whether individuals with a history of child sexual abuse (CSA) are at risk of sexual revictimization in marriage and, if so, whether these experiences are associated with increased trauma symptomatology. Two hundred heterosexual newlywed couples were recruited from marriage license records and completed self-report assessments of past sexual victimization and sexual coercion within the marital dyad. Actor-Partner Interdependence Models revealed that, compared with nonvictims, women with a history of CSA experienced more acts of sexual coercion by their husbands during the past year. Moreover, there was a significant interaction between CSA and sexual coercion such that, among women who experienced CSA, the relationship between marital revictimization and trauma symptoms was stronger. Findings suggest that, for women but not men, sexual revictimization may occur in the context of a new marriage, and these experiences are associated with increased trauma symptoms. These findings have implications for understanding female survivors' perceptions of risk, and are particularly concerning given the high degree of personal and legal commitment involved in marriage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-225
Number of pages14
JournalCouple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2016

Keywords

  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Long-term effects
  • Sexual assault

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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