How Vulnerable are Victims of Child Abuse in Later Life?
Posted Sep 26 2008 5:16pm
A research study published in the August 2008 issue of Child Abuse and Neglect examines the role of childhood victimization in vulnerability for later victimization for both genders. A research sample made up of individuals with documented cases of childhood physical and sexual abuse and neglect from the years 1967 through 1971 were compared with a matched control group. The average age for both groups was 39.5 years. Study participants were interviewed in 2000-2002 and assessed for lifetime incidence of trauma and victimization. The results showed that abused and neglected individuals reported a higher number of traumas and victimization experiences than control subjects. All types of childhood victimization (physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect) were associated with increased risk for lifetime revictimization. Significant gender and demographic differences were also found. Childhood victimization increased risk for physical and sexual assault/abuse, kidnapping/stalking, and having a family friend murdered or commit suicide, but not for general traumas, witnessing trauma, or crime victimization. The authors concluded that their findings provide strong support for the need for early intervention with abused and neglected children and their families to prevent subsequent exposure to traumas and victimization experiences.