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Child Abuse Negl. 1999 Feb;23(2):145-59.

The long-term impact of childhood sexual abuse in Australian women.

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  • 1National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra.



The aim of this study was to examine the association between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and a range of adverse adult outcomes in a community sample of women using multivariate analysis which accounted for a number of potential confounding effects.


Retrospective study of cross-sectional data on the long-term impact of CSA, collected as part of a larger two-stage case-control study of the possible relationship between CSA and alcohol abuse. Data were appropriately weighted to adjust for the different selection probabilities of cases and controls.


Significant associations were found between reporting CSA and experiencing domestic violence, rape, sexual problems, mental health problems, low self-esteem, and problems with intimate relationships even after taking into account a range of family background factors. Women who had experienced abuse involving intercourse were the most vulnerable to these negative outcomes.


The findings indicate that the influence of CSA on adverse long-term effects is mediated and influenced both by the severity of the abuse experiences and by a range of family and social background factors.

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