Associations Between Childhood Sexual Abuse, Adult Sexual Assault Experiences, Psychological Distress, and Substance Use
Dr. Jacqueline Woerner
This study evaluates the potential mechanisms underlying the association between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and substance use among adult women. Moreover, CSA, adult sexual assault (ASA), and psychological distress (including symptoms of depression and perceived stress) was evaluated to determine how it contributes to substance misuse. Past research shows that individuals who experience CSA are more likely to experience ASA, which results in psychological distress. Individuals may use substances to cope with psychological distress from CSA and ASA, consistent with the self-medication hypothesis. Women (N = 225) were recruited from Mechanical Turk (Mturk) and completed an online survey. Results indicate positive correlations between CSA, ASA, psychological distress, problematic drinking, and drug use. Further, there was an indirect effect of CSA on substance use through ASA, but not psychological distress. These results highlight the importance of trauma-informed care for women’s psychological distress and problematic substance use.
"Associations Between Childhood Sexual Abuse, Adult Sexual Assault Experiences, Psychological Distress, and Substance Use,"
The Pegasus Review: UCF Undergraduate Research Journal: Vol. 14:
2, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/urj/vol14/iss2/5