Interpersonal violence: expanding the search for long-term sequelae within a sample of battered women

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Virginia Tech

Lifetime sexual and physical victimization history was examined within a shelter sample (N = 30) and outpatient sample (N = 13) of battered women. Participants reported complex and varied lifetime victimization histories with 71% of women reporting a childhood experience of physical abuse and 53% of women reporting a childhood experience of sexual abuse. Lifetime victimization histories were then examined as predictors of functioning within three domains: general psychological distress, intrapersonal functioning, and interpersonal functioning. General psychological distress was an important measure of psychological adaptation which was specifically linked to the severity of more recent victimization, including current sexual abuse and interim physical abuse. Difficulties with identity development, low self-worth, and (at the trend level) difficulties with intimacy and symptoms of borderline personality received some Support as long-term outcomes following childhood abuse, specifically experiences of chronic childhood physical abuse.These findings suggest that the type of outcome may be differentially associated with the type, onset, and combination of abuse experiences.