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NCJ Number: 206735 Find in a Library
Title: How Does Trauma Beget Trauma?: Cognitions About Risk in Women with Abuse Histories
Journal: Child Maltreatment  Volume:9  Issue:3  Dated:August 2004  Pages:292-303
Author(s): Daniel W. Smith; Joanne L. Davis; Adrienne E. Fricker-Elhai
Date Published: August 2004
Page Count: 12
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study compared the social cognitions concerning risk behaviors in adult women with and without histories of interpersonal victimization.
Abstract: Although previous studies have focused on the long- and short-term effects of child abuse, there is a relative lack of information about the potential importance of social-cognitive variables in explaining the long-term consequences of child abuse on adult survivors. The current study addressed this gap in the literature by examining the associations between perceived risks and benefits of drug use, unsafe sexual behavior, alcohol use, and aggressive/illegal behavior in a sample of 340 college women with and without histories of interpersonal victimization. Participants completed the Cognitive Appraisal of Risky Events, the Short Inventory of Problems, the Trauma Symptom Inventory, a personal history questionnaire, and reported on their alcohol consumption habits during the previous 30 days. Results of statistical analyses revealed that the women with trauma histories were more likely to perceive greater benefits and lower risk associated with risky sexual behavior, illicit drug use, and heavy drinking than their counterparts with no trauma history. In terms of future expectations, the trauma survivors were more likely to predict involvement in risky sexual behavior, drug use, and heavy drinking. Results of regression analyses indicated that when trauma-related symptoms were controlled, cognitions about the risks and benefits of risky behavior mediated the relationship between victim status and expected involvement in risky behaviors. Thus, social cognitions appeared to significantly contribute to judgments about future risk behaviors. The findings have the potential to assist clinicians and prevention specialists working with victims to reduce risk of repeat victimization. Future research should focus on exploring the mechanisms by which these cognitions develop. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Psychological victimization effects; Risk taking behavior
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Long term health effects of child abuse; Victimization risk
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