Comparison of levels of dissociation and history of child sexual abuse between single- and multiple-incident rape victims

Janis Morrell Birchfield, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not women who have been sexually revictimized in adulthood are more highly dissociative and have more frequent histories of child sexual abuse than women raped once. The sample included 75 women; 50 women were recruited from rape care programs throughout the state of New Jersey and two rape care programs in Pennsylvania. Counselors working with rape victims recruited clients for the study, and subjects completed a questionnaire including the Sexual Experiences Survey, the Dissociative Experiences Scale and the Child Maltreatment Interview Schedule. A control group of 25 subjects was recruited from three graduate classes in the Department of Education at two universities.^ Results of analyses of variance indicated that multiple-incident rape victims reported significantly higher levels of dissociation than single-incident victims and control group members. Single-incident victims reported significantly higher levels of dissociation than control group members. Over 40% of the women from rape care programs had dissociation scores which indicated that further assessment for dissociative disorders was warranted. Results of interviews with rape care programs indicated that few rape care counselors were skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of the dissociative disorders or in the utilization of assessment tools for dissociation, although half of the centers indicated that they do treat dissociative disorders. Results of chi-square analyses indicated that multiple-incident victims reported significantly more frequent histories of child sexual abuse than members of the single-incident group and the control group. The single-incident group reported significantly more frequent histories of child sexual abuse than the control group. Child sexual victimization was significantly more severe within the multiple-incident group than the single-incident group or the control group. Although it was not possible to determine causality with regard to high levels of dissociation and vulnerability to adult victimization, the frequency of histories of child sexual abuse found among multiple-incident subjects provided evidence that this group may have been dissociative prior to adult victimization. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Janis Morrell Birchfield, "Comparison of levels of dissociation and history of child sexual abuse between single- and multiple-incident rape victims" (January 1, 1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9729614.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9729614

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