Child Maltreatment Histories Among Female Inmates Reporting Inmate on Inmate Sexual Victimization in Prison: The Mediating Role of Emotion Dysregulation

Kate Walsh, Valerie M. Gonsalves, Mario J Scalora, Steve King, Patricia L. Hardyman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Despite data indicating that child maltreatment (CM) in various forms is associated with adult sexual victimization among community women, few studies have explicitly explored how types of CM might relate to prison sexual victimization. Because little is known about how CM might give rise to prison sexual victimization, the present study also examined emotion dysregulation emanating from early abuse experiences as a potential mediator in the link between early CM and inmate-on-inmate prison sexual victimization. Approximately 168 incarcerated women completed self-report inventories assessing various types of childhood maltreatment, emotion dysregulation, and coerced or forced sexual experiences in prison. Nearly 77% of the sample endorsed experiencing at least one form of CM, with 64% of inmates reporting that they experienced two or more forms of CM. Approximately 9% of inmates reported sexual coercion and 22% reported a forced sexual experience in prison. Each form of CM was associated with prison sexual coercion; however, fewer associations emerged between CM and forced prison sexual experiences. Emotion dysregulation was found to mediate links between CM, particularly co-occurring CM, and sexual coercion in prison, but it was unrelated to forced prison sexual experiences. Implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-512
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2012



  • childhood maltreatment
  • emotion dysregulation
  • prison rape
  • sexual coercion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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