Men's and women's childhood sexual abuse and victimization in adult partner relationships: a study of risk factors

Isabelle Daigneault, Martine Hébert, Pierre McDuff
Child Abuse & Neglect 2009, 33 (9): 638-47

OBJECTIVES: (1) Document the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), childhood physical assault, psychological, physical and sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) in a nationally representative sample. (2) Assess the predictive value of CSA and other characteristics of the respondents and their current partners as potential risk factors for IPV. (3) Assess factors predicting IPV in adulthood in a subsample of women reporting CSA.

METHODS: The role of CSA as a risk factor for adult IPV was examined using data from the 1999 Canadian General Social Survey. A national stratified sample of 9170 women and 7823 men with current or previous partners were interviewed by telephone by Statistics Canada. Multiple logistic regressions were used.

RESULTS: CSA consistently predicted IPV for women and men, although this relationship was weaker for men. Age, current marital status and limitations due to physical or mental condition or chronic illness were also predictors of IPV for men and women. For women reporting CSA, age (being younger) or being in a more recent relationship and being limited due to either physical, mental conditions or chronic illness were predictive of adult victimization.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that CSA is associated with a greater risk of IPV beyond sociodemographic risk factors.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: To prevent IPV in women already at risk because of CSA, education about protective strategies seems important, particularly for women with physical or mental limitations, in the beginning stages of intimate relationships or for women with partners who drink excessively.

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