• Child sex abuse;
  • impact;
  • risk factors;
  • trauma

PROBLEMS:  In order to better understand the long-term impact of child sex abuse, this study examined the association between women's experience of abuse, health symptoms, and psychological distress in adulthood. There is limited information about child abuse outside the United States.

METHODS:  Nine hundred sixty-one women participated in a structured interview.

RESULTS:  Participants who had experienced abuse (13%) were significantly more vulnerable to psychological distress in adulthood if they were younger, less satisfied with their standard of living, and resided in urban areas.

CONCLUSION:  Dissemination and evaluation of therapies for the treatment of sex abuse in the New Zealand context is warranted.