Post-Traumatic Cognition Mediates the Relationship between a History of Sexual Abuse and the Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms in Sexual Assault Victims.J Korean Med Sci. 2017 Oct; 32(10):1680-1686.JK
More than half of all sexual assault victims report experiencing sexual victimization more than once. The aim of this paper was to determine the role post-traumatic cognition plays in the relationship between a history of sexual abuse and post-traumatic stress symptoms in sexual assault victims. The relationship between a history of sexual assault and the severity of post-traumatic stress symptoms was investigated retrospectively using data from a sexual assault crisis center in Korea. Data on psychological symptoms were collected in person at the initial assessment and by telephone 1 month later using the Post-traumatic Cognitions Inventory and the Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms Scale: Self-report Version. Of 105 women included in the analysis, 10 (9.5%) reported prior sexual abuse and were classified as sexually revictimized. Revictimized women had more post-traumatic negative cognition at initial assessment (t = -2.98; P = 0.004) and more post-traumatic symptoms at 1 month follow-up (t = -2.39; P = 0.019) than singly victimized women. At 1 month follow-up, the severity of post-traumatic stress symptoms had increased in revictimized women but had decreased slightly in singly victimized women. Negative post-traumatic cognition fully mediated the association between a history of sexual abuse and the severity of post-traumatic stress symptoms. Early detection of sexually revictimized women and tailored service and treatment intervention is needed to better serve this group of victims. Interventions targeted at preventing revictimization or post crime victimization may also help victims recover from the trauma and prevent future abuse.