Risk for Revictimization Following Interpersonal and Noninterpersonal Trauma: Clarifying the Role of Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Trauma-Related Cognitions

Anna E. Jaffe, David DiLillo, Kim L. Gratz, Terri L. Messman-Moore

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Abstract

One victimization experience can increase the risk for subsequent victimization, which is known as revictimization. The aims of this study were to build on sexual revictimization research by (a) broadening the understanding of revictimization to interpersonal (and potentially noninterpersonal) trauma generally and (b) gaining specificity in the mechanisms that underlie revictimization. Using a prospective multisite design, an ethnically and racially diverse sample of 453 young women from the community (age range: 18–25 years, 60.7% European American) completed an initial survey and at least one follow-up survey within the subsequent year. Participants completed self-report measures of trauma history, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and maladaptive posttraumatic cognitions. Structural equation models revealed that interpersonal revictimization was observed when controlling for past noninterpersonal trauma, odds ratio (OR) = 2.27, 95% CI [1.23, 4.18], and supported the role of posttraumatic stress symptoms as a mechanism underlying such revictimization, 95% CI of indirect effect (IE) [0.08, 0.51]. Additionally, a history of noninterpersonal trauma (controlling for past interpersonal trauma) increased risk of subsequent interpersonal victimization via posttraumatic stress symptoms, 95% CI of IE [0.01, 0.38]. Notably, however, when maladaptive cognitions were included as mediators in addition to posttraumatic stress symptoms, the only unique indirect effect was for the association between interpersonal trauma and risk of revictimization specifically through perceived threat of harm, 95% CI of IE [0.05, 0.20]. These findings suggest that efforts to reduce interpersonal revictimization should target maladaptive posttraumatic cognitions, particularly perceptions of threat in the environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-55
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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