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Child Abuse Negl. 2008 Aug;32(8):785-96. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2007.12.006. Epub 2008 Aug 28.

Childhood victimization and lifetime revictimization.

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  • 1Psychology Department, John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY), New York, NY 10019, USA.



To examine the fundamental hypothesis that childhood victimization leads to increased vulnerability for subsequent (re)victimization in adolescence and adulthood and, if so, whether there are differences in rates of experiencing traumas and victimizations by gender, race/ethnicity, and type of childhood abuse and/or neglect.


Using a prospective cohort design, participants are individuals with documented cases of childhood physical and sexual abuse and neglect from the years 1967 through 1971 and a matched control group. Both groups were interviewed in-person (mean age 39.5 years) in 2000-2002 using a new instrument to assess lifetime trauma and victimization history.


Abused and neglected individuals reported a higher number of traumas and victimization experiences than controls and all types of childhood victimization (physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect) were associated with increased risk for lifetime revictimization. Significant group (abuse/neglect vs. control) by gender and group by race/ethnicity interactions were 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.


These 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.

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