Purpose and Potential benefits: Research, to our knowledge, has not examined the effect of demographic variables on PTSD symptoms among adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). This study explores the relationship between demographic variables and scores of CSA survivors on the Impact of Scale (IES). Participants were 257 women CSA survivors entering outpatient treatment at a university-based mental health center. All participants reported a CSA history and presented with psychological difficulties associated with CSA. The demographic variables investigated were relationship status, religious affiliation, ethnicity, educational level, spousal educational level income, and sexual orientation. Significance tests were used to examine each variable and scores on the Total IES and Avoidance and Intrusion Subscales. Total IES and Intrusion scores differed for sexual orientation and ethnicity in accord with conventional standards of significance (α < .05). Self-reported asexuals indicated fewer intrusive and total PTSD symptoms than heterosexuals, lesbians, and bisexuals. Likewise, Hispanics reported less intrusive PTSD symptoms than Non-Hispanic Caucasians. Our findings invite further exploration of the relationship between ethnicity and sexual orientation and the long-term effects of CSA. A question for empirical investigation is whether asexuality shields against the triggering of CSA memories by a sexual relationship. Another possible area of inquiry is whether particular characteristics of Hispanic culture as a whole serve to moderate the detrimental effects of CSA.
This is a preview of subscription content,to check access.
Access this article
Andres, R. C. (1998). Stress Among Cuban Immigrants: Loss and Triumph. Unpublished undergraduate thesis, New College of University of South Florida.
Axelrod, J., Myers, H. F., Durvasula, R. S., Wyatt, G. E., and Cheng, M. (1999). The impact of relationship violence, HIV, and ethnicity on adjustment in women. Cultur. Divers. Ethni. Minor. Psychol. Spec. Issue: HIV/AIDS Ethni. Minor. Women, Fam Communities 5(3): 263–275.
Bailey, D. F. (1997). PTSD severity among combat veterans: Differences in demographic characteristics. Dissertation Abstr. Int.: Sect. B: Sci. Eng. 58(4-B): 2108.
Bartoi, M. G., and Kinder, B. N. (1998). Effects of child and adult sexual abuse on adult sexuality. J. Sex Marital Ther. 24(2): 75–90.
Beitchman, J. H., Zucker, K. J., Hood, J. E., DaCosta, G. A., Akman, D., and Cassavia, E. (1992). A review of the long-term effects of child sexual abuse. Child Abuse Negl. 16: 101–118.
Bell, D., and Belicki, K. (1998). Acommunity-based study of well-being in adults reporting childhood abuse. Child Abuse Negl. 22(7): 681–685.
Bifulco, A., Brown, G. W., and Adler, Z. (1991). Early sexual abuse and clinical depression in adult life. Br.J.Psychiatry159: 115–122.
Briere, J., and Runtz, M. (1987). Post sexual abuse trauma: Data and implications for clinical practice. J. Interpers. Violence 2: 367–379.
Cahill, C., Llewelyn, S. P., and Pearson, C. (1991). Long-term effects of sexual abuse which occurred in childhood: A review. Br.J.Clin. Psychol. 30: 117–130.
Cheung, P. (1994). Posttraumatic stress disorder among Cambodian refugees in New Zealand. Int. J. Soc. Psychiatry 40(1): 17–26.
Doxey, C., Jenson, L., and Jenson, J. (1997). The influence of religion on victims of childhood sexual abuse. Int. J. Psychol. Religion 7(3): 179–186.
Finkelhor, D., and Browne, A. (1985). The traumatic impact of child sexual abuse: Aconceptualization. Am. J. Orthopsychiatry 55: 530–540.
Finkelhor, D., Hotaling, G. T., Lewis, I. A., Smith, C (1989). Sexual abuse and its relationship to later sexual satisfaction, marital status, religion, and attitudes. J. Interpers. Violence 4(4): 379–399.
Fleming, J., Mullen, P. E., Sibthorpe, B., and Bammer, G. (1999). The long-term impact of childhood sexual abuse in Australian women. Child Abuse Negl. 16: 101–118.
Garrison, C. Z., Bryant, E. S., Addy, C. L., and Spurrier, P. G. (1995). Posttraumatic stress disorder in adolescents after Hurricane Andrew. J. Am. Acad. Child and Adolesc. Psychiatry 34(9): 1193–1201.
Gold, S. N., Hughes, D. M., and Swingle, J. M. (1996). Characteristics of childhood sexual abuse among female survivors in therapy. Child Abuse Negl. 20: 323–335.
Griffith, J. (1985). Social support providers: Who are they? Where are they met?–and the relationship of network characteristics to psychological distress. Basic Appl. Soc. Psychol. 6(1): 41–60.
Horowitz, M., Wilner, and Alvarez, W. (1979). Impact of Event Scale: A measure of subjective stress. Psychosom. Med. 42: 209–218.
Joseph, S. (2000). Psychometric evaluation of Horowitz's impact of event scale: A review. J. Trauma. Stress 13(1): 101–113.
Landis, J. R., and Koch, G. G. (1977). The measurement of observer agreement for categorical data. Biometrics 33: 159–174.
McGuire, L. S., and Wagner, N. N. (1978). Sexual dysfunction among women who were molested as children: One response pattern and suggestion for treatment. J. Sex Marital Ther. 4: 11–15.
Mennen, F. E. (1995). The relationship of race/ethnicity to symptoms in childhood sexual abuse. Child Abuse Negl. 19(1): 115–124.
Messman, T. L., and Long, P. J. (1996). Child sexual abuse and its relationship to revictimization in adult women: A review. Clin. Psychol. Rev. 16: 397–420.
Meston, C. M., Heiman, J. R., and Trapnell, P. D. (1999). The relation between early abuse and adult sexuality. J. Sex Res 36(4): 385–395.
Mullen, P. E., Martin, J. L., Anderson, J. C., Romans, S. E., and Herbison, G. P. (1994). The effect of child sexual abuse on social, interpersonal and sexual function in adult life. Br.J.Psychiatry165: 35–47.
Phillips-Sanders, K., Moisan, P. A., Wadlington, S., Morgan, S., and English, K. (1995). Ethnic differences in psychological functioning among Black and Latino sexually abused girls. Child Abuse Negl. 19(6): 691–706.
Plante, T. G., Manuel, G. M., Menendez, A. V., and Marcotte, D. (1995). Coping with stress among Salvadoran immigrants. Hispanic J. Behav. Sci. 17(4): 471–479.
Russell, D. (1986). The Secret Trauma: Incest in the Lives of Girls and Women, Basic Books, New York, NY.
Sappington, A. A., Pharr, R., Tunstall, A. and Rickert, E. (1997). Relationships among child abuse, date abuse, and psychological problems. J. Clin. Psychol. 53: 319–329.
Stoeber, D., Johnson, S. W., Combs, D. C., and Nash, J. (1999). Precipitating variables and post-traumatic stress disorder among battered Hispanic women: A pilot study. TCA J. 27(1): 23–31.
Valentine, L., and Feinhauer, L. L. (1993). Resilience factors associated with female survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Am.J.Fam.Ther. 21(3): 216–224.
Walser, R. D., and Kern, J. M. (1996). Relationships among childhood sexual abuse, sex guilt, and sexual behavior in adult clinical samples. J. Sex Res. 33(4): 321–326.
Whiffen, V. E., Judd, M. E., and Aube, J. A. (1994). Intimate relation-ships moderate the association between childhood sexual abuse and depression. J. Interpers. Violence 14(19): 940–954.
Wyatt, G. E. (1990). The aftermath of child sexual abuse of African American and White American women: The victim's experience. J. Fam. Violence 5(1): 61–81.
Ying, Y. W. (1988). Depressive symptomatology among Chinese-Americans as measured by the CES-D. J. Clin. PsychoI. 44: 739–746.
About this article
Cite this article
Andrés-Hyman, R.C., Cott, M.A. & Gold, S.N. Ethnicity and Sexual Orientation as PTSD Mitigators in Child Sexual Abuse Survivors. Journal of Family Violence 19, 319–325 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JOFV.0000042081.96997.4e