Psychological impact of types of sexual trauma among college women



Studies typically demonstrate that sexual victimization is associated with negative outcomes, yet they often fail to control for other trauma exposure and rarely address the impact of developmental level at the time of exposure or the type of sexual trauma experienced. The present study addresses these confounds by identifying groups of women with unique, nonoverlapping sexual trauma histories and examines the association between type of sexual trauma exposure and mental health impairment, social adjustment, and sexual functioning. This study compared five discrete groups of college-sophomore women based on self-identified trauma histories including no trauma, childhood sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, adolescent sexual assault, and revictimization. Significant differences based on sexual trauma type were observed; individuals who experienced adolescent sexual assault or revictimization were at greatest risk for psychopathology, poor social adjustment, and risky sexual behaviors.