Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 51–61 | Cite as

Child Sexual Abuse as a Risk Factor for Teen Dating Violence: Findings from a Representative Sample of Quebec Youth

  • Martine Hébert
  • Catherine Moreau
  • Martin Blais
  • Francine Lavoie
  • Mireille Guerrier


Child sexual abuse (CSA) is identified as a significant risk factor for later victimization in the context of adult intimate relationships, but less is known about the risk associated with CSA in early romantic relationships. This paper aims to document the association between CSA and teen dating victimization in a large representative sample of Quebec high-school students. As part of the YouthsRomantic Relationships Project, 8194 teens completed measures on CSA and psychological, physical and sexual dating violence. After controlling for other interpersonal traumas, results show that CSA contributed to all three forms of dating victimization among both boys and girls. The heightened risk of revictimization appears to be stronger for male victims of CSA. Intervention and prevention efforts are clearly needed to reduce the vulnerability of male and female victims of sexual abuse who are entering the crucial phase of adolescence and first romantic relationships.


Sexual abuse Dating violence Interpersonal trauma Revictimization 



The authors wish to thank the teenagers who participated in the study as well as the school personnel involved. This research was supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research awarded to Martine Hébert (CIHR # 103944).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Disclosure of Interest

Authors declare that they have no conflicts to report.

Ethical Standards and Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation [Internal review board of the Université du Québec à Montréal] and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all participants for being included in the study.


  1. Afifi, T. O., MacMillan, H., Cox, B. J., Asmundson, G. J., Stein, M. B., & Sareen, J. (2009). Mental health correlates of intimate partner violence in marital relationships in a nationally representative sample of males and females. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 24(8), 1398–1417. doi: 10.1177/0886260508322192.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Anda, R. F., Felitti, V. J., Bremner, J. D., Walker, J. D., Whitfield, C. H., Perry, B. D., Dube, S. R., & Giles, W. H. (2006). The enduring effects of abuse and related adverse experiences in childhood. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 256(3), 174–186. doi: 10.1007/s00406-005-0624-4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Banyard, V. L., Arnold, S., & Smith, J. (2000). Childhood sexual abuse and dating experiences of undergraduate women. Child Maltreatment, 5(1), 39–48. doi: 10.1177/1077559500005001005.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bhatta, M. P., Jefferis, E., Kavadas, A., Alemagno, S. A., & Shaffer-King, P. (2014). Suicidal behaviors among adolescents in juvenile detention: role of adverse life experiences. PLoS One, 9(2), e89408. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089408.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Bremner, J. D., Bolus, R., & Mayer, E. A. (2007). Psychometric properties of the early trauma inventory–self report. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 195(3), 211–218. doi: 10.1097/01.nmd.0000243824.84651.6c.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. Capaldi, D. M., Knoble, N. B., Shortt, J. W., & Kim, H. K. (2012). # 4 A systematic review of risk factors for intimate partner violence. Partner Abuse, 3(2), 1–27. doi: 10.1891/1946-6560.3.2.231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chan, K. L., Yan, E., Brownridge, D. A., Tiwari, A., & Fong, D. Y. (2011). Childhood sexual abuse associated with dating partner violence and suicidal ideation in a representative household sample in Hong Kong. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26(9), 1763–1784. doi: 10.1177/0886260510372943.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coid, J., Petruckevitch, A., Feder, G., Chung, W. S., Richardson, J., & Moorey, S. (2001). Relation between childhood sexual and physical abuse and risk of revictimisation in women: a cross-sectional survey. The Lancet, 358(9280), 450–454. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(01)05622-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cyr, M., McDuff, P., & Wright, J. (2006). Prevalence and predictors of dating violence among adolescent female victims of child sexual abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21(8), 1000–1017. doi: 10.1177/0886260506290201.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Daigneault, I., Hébert, M., & McDuff, P. (2009). Men’s and women’s childhood sexual abuse and victimization in adult partner relationships: a study of risk factors. Child Abuse & Neglect, 33(9), 638–647. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2009.04.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. DiLillo, D., Giuffre, D., Tremblay, G. C., & Peterson, L. (2001). A closer look at the nature of intimate partner violence reported by women with a history of child sexual abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 16(2), 116–132. doi: 10.1177/088626001016002002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Elliott, D. M., Mok, D. S., & Briere, J. (2004). Adult sexual assault: prevalence, symptomatology, and sex differences in the general population. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 17(3), 203–211.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Feiring, C., & Cleland, C. (2007). Childhood sexual abuse and abuse-specific attributions of blame over 6 years following discovery. Child Abuse & Neglect, 31(11–12), 1169–1186. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2007.03.020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Feiring, C., Simon, V. A., Cleland, C. M., & Barrett, E. P. (2013). Potential pathways from stigmatization and externalizing behavior to anger and dating aggression in sexually abused youth. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 42(3), 309–322. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2012.736083.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fernández-González, L., Wekerle, C., & Goldstein, A. L. (2012). Measuring adolescent dating violence: development of conflict in adolescent dating relationships inventory (CADRI) short form. Advances in Adolescent Mental Health, 11(1), 35–54. doi: 10.5172/jamh.2012.2280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Finkelhor, D., & Browne, A. (1985). The traumatic impact of child sexual abuse: a conceptualization. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 55(4), 530–541. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-0025.1985.tb02703.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Finkelhor, D., Hotaling, G., Lewis, I. A., & Smith, C. (1990). Sexual abuse in a national survey of adult men and women: prevalence, characteristics, and risk factors. Child Abuse & Neglect, 14(1), 19–28. doi: 10.1016/0145-2134(90)90077-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Foshee, V. A., & Reyes, H. L. M. (2011). Dating abuse: prevalence, consequences, and predictors. In R. J. R. Levesque (Ed.), Encyclopedia of adolescence (pp. 602–615). New York: Springer Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gagné, M. H., Lavoie, F., & Hébert, M. (2005). Victimization during childhood and revictimization in dating relationships in adolescent girls. Child Abuse & Neglect, 29(10), 1155–1172. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2004.11.009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gidycz, C. A., Rich, C. L., Orchowski, L., King, C., & Miller, A. K. (2006). The evaluation of a sexual assault self‐defense and risk‐reduction program for college women: a prospective study. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 30(2), 173–186. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.2006.00280.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Glass, N., Fredland, N., Campbell, J., Yonas, M., Sharps, P., & Kub, J. (2003). Adolescent dating violence: prevalence, risk factors, health outcomes, and implications for clinical practice. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 32(2), 227–238. doi: 10.1001/jama.286.5.572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Grauerholz, L. (2000). An ecological approach to understanding sexual revictimization: linking personal, interpersonal, and sociocultural factors and processes. Child Maltreatment, 5(1), 5–17. doi: 10.1177/107755950000500100.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Hamby, S., Finkelhor, D., & Turner, H. (2012). Teen dating violence: Co-occurrence with other victimizations in the national survey of children’s exposure to violence (NatSCEV). Psychology of Violence, 2(2), 111–124. doi: 10.1037/a0027191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hébert, M., Lavoie, F., Vitaro, F., McDuff, P., & Tremblay, R. E. (2008). Association of child sexual abuse and dating victimization with mental health disorder in a sample of adolescent girls. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 21(2), 181–189. doi: 10.1002/jts.20314.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Hébert, M., Daigneault, I., & Van Camp, T. (2012). Agression sexuelle et risque de revictimisation à l’adolescence: modèles conceptuels et défis liés à la prévention. In M. Hébert, M. Cyr, & M. Tourigny (Eds.), L’agression sexuelle envers les enfants. Tome II (pp. 171–223). Ste-Foy: Presses de l'Université du Québec.Google Scholar
  26. Hébert, M., Lavoie, F., & Blais, M. (2014a). Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/PTSD in adolescent victims of sexual abuse: resilience and social support as protection factors. Ciência & Saúde Coletiva [Science and Public Health], 19(3), 685–694. doi: 10.1590/1413-81232014193.15972013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hébert, M., Van Camp, T., Lavoie, F., Blais, M., & Guerrier, M. (2014b). Understanding the hesitancy to disclose teen dating violence: correlates of self-efficacy to deal with teen dating violence. Temida, 17(4), 43–64. doi: 10.2298/TEM1404043H.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  28. Hébert, M., Daigneault, I., Langevin, R., & Jud, A. (2016). L’agression sexuelle envers les enfants et les adolescents. In M. Dans, M. Hébert, M. Fernet, & M. Blais (Eds.), Enjeux du développement sexuel chez l’enfant et l’adolescent. Paris: De Boeck. in pressGoogle Scholar
  29. Hines, D. A. (2007). Predictors of sexual coercion against women and men: a multilevel, multinational study of university students. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36(3), 403–422. doi: 10.1007/s10508-006-9141-4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Kerig, P. K., Volz, A. R., Moeddel, M. A., & Cuellar, R. E. (2010). Implementing dating violence prevention programs with flexibility, fidelity, and sensitivity to diversity: lessons learned from expect respect. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 19(6), 661–680. doi: 10.1080/10926771.2010.502079.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Koss, M. P., & Gidycz, C. A. (1985). Sexual experiences survey: reliability and validity. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 53(3), 422–423. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.53.3.422.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Koss, M. P., & Oros, C. J. (1982). Sexual experiences survey: a research instrument investigating sexual aggression and victimization. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 50(3), 455–457. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.50.3.455.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Koss, M. P., Abbey, A., Campbell, R., Cook, S., Norris, J., Testa, M., …White, J. (2007). Revising the SES: A collaborative process to improve assessment of sexual aggression and victimization. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 31(4), 357–370. doi:  10.1111/j.1471-6402.2007.00385.x.
  34. MacMillan, H. L., Fleming, J. E., Streiner, D. L., Lin, E., Boyle, M. H., Jamieson, E., …Beardslee, W. R. (2014). Childhood abuse and lifetime psychopathology in a community sample. American Journal of Psychiatry, 158(11), 1878–1883. doi:  10.1176/appi.ajp.158.11.1878.
  35. Martin, G., Bergen, H. A., Richardson, A. S., Roeger, L., & Allison, S. (2004). Sexual abuse and suicidality: gender differences in a large community sample of adolescents. Child Abuse & Neglect, 28(5), 491–503. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2003.08.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Messman-Moore, T. L., & Long, P. J. (2000). Child sexual abuse and revictimization in the form of adult sexual abuse, adult physical abuse, and adult psychological maltreatment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 15(5), 489–502. doi: 10.1177/088626000015005003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Messman-Moore, T. L., & Long, P. J. (2003). The role of childhood sexual abuse sequelae in the sexual revictimization of women: an empirical review and theoretical reformulation. Clinical Psychology Review, 23(4), 537–571. doi: 10.1016/S0272-7358(02)00203-9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Moore, E. E., Romaniuk, H., Olsson, C. A., Jayasinghe, Y., Carlin, J. B., & Patton, G. C. (2010). The prevalence of childhood sexual abuse and adolescent unwanted sexual contact among boys and girls living in Victoria, Australia. Child Abuse & Neglect, 34(5), 379–385. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2010.01.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Noll, J. G., & Grych, J. H. (2011). Read-react-respond: an integrative model for understanding sexual revictimization. Psychology of Violence, 1(3), 202–215. doi: 10.1037/a0023962.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. O’Donnell, L., Stueve, A., Myint-U, A., Duran, R., Agronick, G., & Wilson-Simmons, R. (2006). Middle school aggression and subsequent intimate partner physical violence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35(5), 693–703. doi: 10.1007/s10964-006-9086-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pica, L. A., Traoré, I., Bernèche, F., Laprise, P., Cazale, L., Camirand, H., …Plante, N. (2012). L’Enquête québécoise sur la santé des jeunes du secondaire 2010–2011. Le visage des jeunes d’aujourd’hui: Leur santé physique et leurs habitudes de vie, Tome 1. Québec, QC: Institut de la statistique du Québec.Google Scholar
  42. Pitts, C. (2015). Child sexual abuse prevention programs for pre-schoolers: a synthesis of current evidence. Sydney: Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.Google Scholar
  43. Ports, K. A., Ford, D. C., & Merrick, M. T. (2016). Adverse childhood experiences and sexual victimization in adulthood. Child Abuse & Neglect, 51, 313–322. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2015.08.017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rao, J. N. K., & Scott, A. J. (1981). The analysis of categorical data from complex sample surveys: Chi-squared tests for goodness of fit and independence in two-way tables. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 76(374), 221–230. doi: 10.2307/2287815.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rao, J. N. K., & Scott, A. J. (1984). On chi-squared tests for multiway contingency tables with cell proportions estimated from survey data. The Annals of Statistics, 12(1), 46–60. Retrieved from Scholar
  46. Risser, H. J., Hetzel-Riggin, M. D., Thomsen, C. J., & McCanne, T. R. (2006). PTSD as a mediator of sexual revictimization: the role of reexperiencing, avoidance, and arousal symptoms. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 19(5), 687–698. doi: 10.1002/jts.20156.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Rothman, E., & Silverman, J. (2007). The effect of a college sexual assault prevention program on first-year students’ victimization rates. Journal of American College Health, 55(5), 283–290. doi: 10.3200/JACH.55.5.283-290.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Shorey, R. C., Zucosky, H., Febres, J., Brasfield, H., & Stuart, G. L. (2013). Males’ reactions to participating in research on dating violence victimization and childhood abuse. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 22(4), 348–364. doi: 10.1080/10926771.2013.775987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Siegel, J. P. (2006). Dyadic splitting in partner relational disorders. Journal of Family Psychology, 20(3), 418–422. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.20.3.418.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Simoneau, A. C., Daignault, I., & Hébert, M. (2011). La thérapie cognitivo-comportementale axée sur le trauma. In M. Hébert, M. Cyr, & M. Tourigny (Eds.), L’agression sexuelle envers les enfants. Tome I (pp. 363–398). Ste-Foy: Presses de l’Université du Québec.Google Scholar
  51. Simonelli, C. J., Mullis, T., Elliott, A. N., & Pierce, T. W. (2002). Abuse by siblings and subsequent experiences of violence within the dating relationship. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 17(2), 103–121. doi: 10.1177/0886260502017002001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Stoltenborgh, M., van Ijzendoorn, M. H., Euser, E. M., & Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J. (2011). A global perspective on child sexual abuse: meta-analysis of prevalence around the world. Child Maltreatment, 16(2), 79–101. doi: 10.1177/1077559511403920.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Straus, M. A., Hamby, S. L., Boney-McCoy, S., & Sugarman, D. B. (1996). The revised conflict tactics scales (CTS2) development and preliminary psychometric data. Journal of Family Issues, 17(3), 283–316. doi: 10.1177/019251396017003001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sylaska, K. M., & Edwards, K. M. (2014). Disclosure of intimate partner violence to informal social support network members: a review of the literature. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 15(1), 3–21. doi: 10.1177/1524838013496335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Tourigny, M., Lavoie, F., Vézina, J., & Pelletier, V. (2006). La violence subie par des adolescentes dans leurs fréquentations amoureuses: incidence et facteurs associés. Revue de Psychoéducation, 35(2), 323–354.Google Scholar
  56. Tourigny, M., Hébert, M., Joly, J., Cyr, M., & Baril, K. (2008). Prevalence and co-occurrence of violence against children in the Quebec population. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 32(4), 331–335. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2008.00250.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Tulloch, T., & Kaufman, M. (2013). Adolescent sexuality. Pediatrics in Review/American Academy of Pediatrics, 34(1), 29–37. doi: 10.1542/pir.34-1-29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Vagi, K. J., Olsen, E. O. M., Basile, K. C., & Vivolo-Kantor, A. M. (2015). Teen dating violence (physical and sexual) among US high school students: findings from the 2013 national youth risk behavior survey. Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, 169(5), 474–482. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.3577.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Walker, J. L., Carey, P. D., Mohr, N., Stein, D. J., & Seedat, S. (2004). Gender differences in the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse and in the development of pediatric PTSD. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 7(2), 111–121. doi: 10.1007/s00737-003-0039-z.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Wekerle, C., & Wolfe, D. A. (2003). Child maltreatment. In E. J. Mash & R. A. Russell (Eds.), Child psychopathology (2nd ed., pp. 632–684). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  61. Wekerle, C., Wolfe, D. A., Hawkins, D., Pittman, A. L., Glickman, A., & Lovald, B. E. (2001). Childhood maltreatment, posttraumatic stress symptomatology, and adolescent dating violence: Considering the value of adolescent perceptions of abuse and a trauma mediational model. Development and Psychopathology, 13(04), 847–871.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Whitfield, C. L., Anda, R. F., Dube, S. R., & Felitti, V. J. (2003). Violent childhood experiences and the risk of intimate partner violence in adults: assessment in a large health maintenance organization. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 18(2), 166–185. doi: 10.1177/0886260502238733.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wolfe, D. A., & Wekerle, C. (1997). Pathways to violence in teen dating relationships. In D. Cicchetti & S. L. Toth (Eds.), Developmental perspectives on trauma: Theory, research, and intervention (pp. 315–341). Rochester: University of Rochester Press.Google Scholar
  64. Wolfe, D. A., Wekerle, C., Reitzel-Jaffe, D., & Lefebvre, L. (1998). Factors associated with abusive relationships among maltreated and nonmaltreated youth. Development and Psychopathology, 10(01), 61–85. doi: 10.1017/S0954579498001345.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Wolfe, D. A., Scott, K., Reitzel-Jaffe, D., Wekerle, C., Grasley, C., & Straatman, A. L. (2001). Development and validation of the conflict in adolescent dating relationships inventory. Psychological Assessment, 13(2), 277–293. doi: 10.1037//1040-3590.13.2.277.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Wolitzky-Taylor, K. B., Ruggiero, K. J., Danielson, C. K., Resnick, H. S., Hanson, R. F., Smith, D. W., …Kilpatrick, D.G. (2008). Prevalence and correlates of dating violence in a national sample of adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescence Psychiatry, 47(7), 755–762. doi:  10.1097/CHI.0b013e318172ef5f
  67. World Health Organization and the International Society for Child Abuse and Neglect. Preventing childhood maltreatment: A guide to taking action and generating evidence. Retrieved July 7, 2015 from

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martine Hébert
    • 1
  • Catherine Moreau
    • 1
  • Martin Blais
    • 1
  • Francine Lavoie
    • 2
  • Mireille Guerrier
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SexologyUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.School of PsychologyUniversité LavalQuébecCanada

Personalised recommendations