The Relationship Between Childhood Sexual Abuse and Adult Mental Health Among Undergraduates: Victim Gender Doesn't Matter

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child sexual abuse, Brief Symptom Inventory, gender, mental health

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A large body of research has documented the harmful effects of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) on adult mental health among females, but less work has examined this issue among males. This study examined whether gender moderated the relationship between CSA and adult mental health among a mixed-gender sample of 406 undergraduates. A Pearson chi-square test indicated that a significantly greater proportion of females (41.6%) than males (30.7%) reported a history of CSA. ANCOVAs tested whether gender, CSA status, and their interaction were related to adult mental health symptomatology as measured by Brief Symptom Inventory gender-normed t scores. Participants with a history of CSA reported significantly higher levels of global mental health problems, hostility, paranoid ideation, and psychoticism. The gender by CSA status interaction was not significant for any scale, indicating that the harmful effects of CSA on adult mental health did not vary by gender.

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Journal of Interpersonal Violence, v. 22, issue 10, p. 1315-1331