Abstract

Females exposed to child sexual abuse (CSA) are at an increased risk of experiencing further victimization in adolescence. Associations between CSA and several forms of cyber and in-person peer bullying victimization were assessed in a prospective, longitudinal study. Females exposed to substantiated CSA and a matched comparison group (N = 422) were followed over a two-year period. Bullying experiences were assessed in both survey and qualitative interviews. Qualitative data were coded and used to describe the types (e.g., cyber, physical, verbal), and foci (e.g., threats, physical appearance) of bullying victimization. Logistic regression was used to assess the odds that CSA was associated with subsequent bullying victimization, adjusted for demographics, social networking use, and prior bullying. CSA-exposed females were at an increased risk of multiple forms of bullying victimization with a persistent risk of bullying victimization over time. Specifically, they had 2.6 times higher odds of experiencing any bullying at follow-up, 2.9 times higher odds of experiencing cyberbullying at follow-up, and 2 times higher odds of experiencing combined cyber/in-person bullying at follow-up. CSA-exposed females were more likely than comparison females to experience bullying regarding their appearance/weight and dating relationships. Findings provide further insight into the unique circumstances of the cyberbullying and in-person bullying experienced by CSA-exposed females. Females exposed to child sexual abuse (CSA) are at an increased risk of experiencing bullying victimization, specifically cyberbullying and combined cyber/in-person bullying, as well as bullying about their appearance and dating relationships. These findings indicate that bullying prevention needs to include trauma-focused components to target these uniquely vulnerable females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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