A vast literature has documented that early sexual victimization is associated with a variety of mental health difficulties for adult women (e.g., PTSD, substance abuse). Even more disturbing is that the same women who suffer maltreatment during childhood or adolescence are up to ten times more likely to be sexually victimized again as adults. Known as """"""""revictimization,"""""""" this problem has generated tremendous research interest in recent years geared largely at establishing prevalence rates and identifying factors associated with this phenomenon. Although informative, this initial work has yet to explain the processes by which childhood or adolescence victimization is linked to adult revictimization. In response to this need, the present project integrates past findings within a longitudinal framework to elucidate pathways linking initial maltreatment to adult revictimization. In particular, mechanisms related to psychopathology, sexual risk taking, and alcohol use will be examined. The present study also takes the additional step of examining the antecedents that give rise to the more immediate determinants of adult sexual victimization. Specifically, drawing on recent theoretical and empirical findings we propose that difficulties with emotion regulation stemming from early abuse serve as underlying risk factors for the more immediate psychosocial predictors of revictimization. Together, these findings will permit the testing of a comprehensive model of revictimization.

Public Health Relevance

Sexual violence against women is an endemic societal problem that has been associated with myriad sequelae such as posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, interpersonal difficulties, and serious health problems such as HIV. Understanding risk factors for victimization is critical to the development of effective sexual assault prevention and treatment programs designed to reduce the societal burden of these experiences.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
Program Officer
Maholmes, Valerie
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University of Nebraska Lincoln
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Charak, Ruby; DiLillo, David; Messman-Moore, Terri L et al. (2018) Latent Classes of Lifetime Sexual Victimization Characteristics in Women in Emerging Adulthood: Differential Relations with Emotion Dysregulation. Psychol Violence 8:570-579
Zerubavel, Noga; Messman-Moore, Terri L; DiLillo, David et al. (2018) Childhood Sexual Abuse and Fear of Abandonment Moderate the Relation of Intimate Partner Violence to Severity of Dissociation. J Trauma Dissociation 19:9-24
Jaffe, Anna E; Steel, Anne L; DiLillo, David et al. (2017) Characterizing Sexual Violence in Intimate Relationships: An Examination of Blame Attributions and Rape Acknowledgment. J Interpers Violence :886260517726972
Jaffe, Anna E; Steel, Anne L; DiLillo, David et al. (2017) Victim Alcohol Intoxication During a Sexual Assault: Relations With Subsequent PTSD Symptoms. Violence Vict 32:642-657
Lavender, Jason M; Tull, Matthew T; DiLillo, David et al. (2017) Development and Validation of a State-Based Measure of Emotion Dysregulation. Assessment 24:197-209
Berghoff, Christopher R; Tull, Matthew T; DiLillo, David et al. (2017) The Role of Experiential Avoidance in the Relation between Anxiety Disorder Diagnoses and Future Physical Health Symptoms in a Community Sample of Young Adult Women. J Contextual Behav Sci 6:29-34
Gratz, Kim L; Weiss, Nicole H; McDermott, Michael J et al. (2017) Emotion Dysregulation Mediates the Relation Between Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms and Later Physical Health Symptoms. J Pers Disord 31:433-448
Bjureberg, Johan; Ljótsson, Brjánn; Tull, Matthew T et al. (2016) Development and Validation of a Brief Version of the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale: The DERS-16. J Psychopathol Behav Assess 38:284-296
Schoenleber, Michelle; Berghoff, Christopher R; Tull, Matthew T et al. (2016) Emotional lability and affective synchrony in borderline personality disorder. Personal Disord 7:211-20
Dixon-Gordon, Katherine L; Weiss, Nicole H; Tull, Matthew T et al. (2015) Characterizing emotional dysfunction in borderline personality, major depression, and their co-occurrence. Compr Psychiatry 62:187-203

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