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An investigation of sexual revictimization risk factors To inform risk reduction programming

1 December 2016


Despite the increased risk of sexual revictimization, there is a lack of sexual victimization risk reduction programs that effectively target women with histories of sexual violence. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), emotion dysregulation, problematic alcohol use, and risky sexual behavior have been identified as risk factors for sexual revictimization. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) has been found to address the sexual revictimization risk factors identified, and the use of DBT skills training groups for possible revictimization risk reduction was discussed. This study examined sexual victimization history, revictimization risk factors, and DBT participation in 139 women ages 21 years and older to help inform the creation of future risk reduction programs. Women with histories of sexual violence reported more PTSD symptoms and emotion dysregulation than women who had not been victimized, and women who have been victimized multiple times reported more severe symptoms than women who had reported a single victimization or no victimization. No significant differences in alcohol use and risky sexual behavior between victimization statuses were found. Unexpectedly, women who received DBT reported higher levels of PTSD and emotion dysregulation compared to women who had not received DBT. Based on the results of this study, the creation of a risk reduction program that targets symptoms of PTSD and emotion dysregulation was encouraged.


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