Further victimization of child sexual abuse victims: A latent class typology of re-victimization trajectories

Nina L. Papalia, Stefan Luebbers, James R.P. Ogloff, Margaret Cutajar, Paul E. Mullen, Emily Mann

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32 Citations (Scopus)


The association between child sexual abuse (CSA) and risk for re-victimization is well-documented; however, less is known about the temporal progression of re-victimization experiences over the early life-course among CSA survivors, and whether this differs from that of those without known sexual abuse histories. This study investigated whether there are distinct temporal pathways of interpersonal re-victimization between the ages of 10–25 years among medically confirmed CSA cases, and considered whether abuse variables, re-victimization variables, and the presence of other adverse outcomes, were associated with heterogeneity in re-victimization pathways. The data were collected as part of a large-scale data-linkage study in which the medical records of 2759 cases of contact-CSA between 1964 and 1995 were linked, between 13 and 44 years following abuse, to police and public psychiatric databases; cases were compared to a matched community sample (n = 2677). Using a subsample of 510 (401 victims; 109 comparisons) individuals with an interpersonal (re)victimization history, we examined the aggregate ‘age-(re)victimization’ curves for CSA victims and comparisons, respectively. Further, we applied longitudinal latent class analysis to explore heterogeneity in re-victimization trajectories among abuse survivors across their early life-course. Four latent pathways were identified, labeled: Normative; Childhood-Limited; Emerging-Adulthood; and Chronic re-victimization trajectories. Older age at abuse, a criminal history, and mental health problems were uniquely predictive of membership to the more problematic and persistent re-victimization trajectories. Findings indicate that individuals exposed to CSA during adolescence may be particularly vulnerable to poorer re-victimization trajectories, characterized by multiple risk indices, and thus may warrant increased service provision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-129
Number of pages18
JournalChild Abuse & Neglect
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Child sexual abuse
  • Follow-up study
  • Life-course
  • Linked administrative data
  • Re-victimization
  • Trajectory

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