Childhood sexual abuse, revictimization and substance use among a clinical sample: impulsivity and insight as related factors

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology


Department of Psychology


Advisor: Carolyn E. Roecker Phelps


A relationship between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and substance abuse has been empirically validated through many different studies, within both community and psychiatric populations (Bailey, 2007; Arellano, 1996; Plant, Miller, & Plant, 2004; Saunders, Kilpatrick, Hanson, Resnick, & Walker, 1999). Substance abuse can also be thought of as a risk factor for revictimization (Classen, Palesh, & Aggarwal, 2005). The relationship between sexual assault, both CSA and revictimization, and substance use has been consistent throughout research. However, research which distinguishes between risk factors, correlates, and consequences is limited in scope. Therefore, it is necessary for research to focus on the possible mediating and moderating effects between CSA, revictimization, and substance use. This current study examined CSA and revictimization in relation to substance use in a psychiatric population. Impulsivity and insight were also examined for their potential role in the relationship between CSA and substance abuse, and revictimization and substance abuse. Results indicated that, in this sample, substance use was independent from the presence of CSA, X² (2, 115)=1.62, p=.45. It was also determined that substance use was independent from revictimization, X² (2,115) =2.54, p=.28. Additionally, there were no differences in either insight or impulse based on group. Difficulties related to archival studies, subjectivity of assessment, institutional constraints, and hospital policies are discussed in regards to the results of this study.


Adult child sexual abuse victims Psychology, Drug abuse Psychological aspects, Behavioral Sciences, Clinical Psychology, Psychology, Childhood sexual abuse, revictimization, substance use, impulsivity, insight, inpatient

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Copyright © 2014, author