Childhood sexual abuse, adult sexual assault, revictimization, and coping among sexual minority women

Mariah Xu, Thomas Corbeil, Lauren Bochicchio, Jillian R. Scheer, Melanie Wall, Tonda L. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Compared with heterosexual women, sexual minority women experience higher rates and greater severity of sexual victimization. Little is known about how childhood sexual abuse (CSA), adult sexual assault (ASA), and revictimization impact coping in this population. Few studies have examined the effects of recency, developmental stage, and revictimization on coping. Objective: To improve psychosocial outcomes following sexual victimization, it is important to understand whether different patterns of exposure differentially impact coping over time. To do so, we investigated associations between CSA, ASA, and revictimization (both CSA and ASA) and adult sexual minority women's coping strategies. Participants and setting: Data are from a longitudinal community-based sample of 513 sexual minority women of diverse ages and races/ethnicities. Methods: Participants reported CSA (<age 18) and ASA (age 18+) victimization histories in Wave 3 and recent ASA and coping in Wave 4 of the study. Results: High-risk (i.e., genital penetration) CSA and recent ASA were associated with more avoidant coping (compared to no CSA or no ASA). No interaction between CSA and ASA was found, but history of both CSA and ASA had a stronger effect on avoidant coping than no victimization or CSA only. Conclusions: Although sexual revictimization had a stronger impact on coping than CSA or ASA only, we did not find a synergistic effect (i.e., CSA and ASA may have had stacked independent effects). History of ASA was more strongly associated with coping than CSA. Recency of sexual victimization appears especially salient to coping among sexual minority women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106721
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - May 2024


  • Adult sexual assault
  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Coping
  • Revictimization
  • Sexual minority women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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