Posttraumatic symptom profiles among adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse: A longitudinal study

Iris M Steine, Dagfinn Winje, Jens Christoffer Skogen, John H Krystal, Anne Marita Milde, Bjørn Bjorvatn, Inger Hilde Nordhus, Janne Grønli, Ståle Pallesen
Child Abuse & Neglect 2017, 67: 280-293
In the present study, our aim was to examine longitudinal posttraumatic stress symptom (PTSS) trajectories in a Norwegian sample of adults who had experienced sexual abuse during childhood, and to identify predictors of PTSS-trajectory belongingness. The sample consisted of 138 adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse (96.4% women, mean age=42.9years, mean age at the first abuse=5.9 years), recruited from support centers for sexual abuse survivors. The majority (78.3%) reported penetrative abuse, and a large proportion of the sample reported that the perpetrator was a biological parent (38.4%) or someone they trusted (76.1%), reflecting a high severity level of the abusive experiences. Latent Profile Analyses revealed the best overall fit for a two PTSS-trajectories model; one trajectory characterized by sub-clinical and decreasing level of PTSS (54.9%), and the other by high and slightly decreasing level of PTSS (45.1%). Increased odds for belonging to the trajectory with clinical level symptoms was found among those who reported higher levels of exposure to other types of childhood maltreatment (OR=3.69, p=0.002), sexual abuse enforced by physical violence (OR=3.04, p=0.003) or threats (OR=2.56, p=0.014), very painful sexual abuse (OR=2.73, p=0.007), or who had experienced intense anxiety, helplessness or fear during the abuse (OR=2.97, p=0.044). Those in the trajectory with clinical level PTSS reported lower levels of perceived social support and more relational difficulties compared to those in the sub-clinical PTSS trajectory. In conclusion, different longitudinal PTSS trajectories can be found among adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Significant predictors of PTSS-trajectory belongingness are discussed alongside their potential implications for preventive efforts and clinical interventions.


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Available on the App Store

Available on the Play Store
Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"