The roles of peritraumatic dissociation, child physical abuse, and child sexual abuse in the development of posttraumatic stress disorder and adult victimization

Melanie Dyan Hetzel-Riggin, Thomas R. McCanne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Previous research has indicated that women who experience childhood physical abuse or childhood sexual abuse are at increased risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and adult victimization. Recently, peritraumatic dissociation (PD) has been suggested as another possible risk factor for PTSD and adult victimization. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of childhood physical and sexual abuse and PD on PTSD and adult victimization. Method: A sample of 467 female college students completed questionnaires about childhood and adult sexual and physical abuse experiences, PD, and PTSD symptoms. Results: The combined sexual and physical abuse (CA) and sexual abuse only (SA) groups reported significantly higher numbers of PTSD symptoms than the physical abuse only (PA) and no abuse (NA) groups. The CA and PA groups reported significantly more adult sexual and physical victimization than the SA and NA groups. Across all four groups, higher levels of PD were associated with higher levels of PTSD and adult sexual and physical victimization. Conclusions: The results of the current study suggest that different types of childhood abuse may lead to different adult problems. The results also indicated that PD may have a broad effect on PTSD development and adult victimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)915-930
Number of pages16
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume29
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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