Sexual trauma and personality: Developmental vulnerability and additive effects

Stephen A. Wonderlich, Ross D. Crosby, James E. Mitchell, Kevin Thompson, Joshua M. Smyth, Jennifer Redlin, Maisley Jones-Paxton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Two types of sexual trauma, sexual abuse in childhood and rape in adulthood, were investigated in terms of possible effects on personality. Four groups of participants were studied: women who had experienced sexual abuse in childhood, women who had experienced rape as adults, women who had experienced both of these sexual traumas, and a control group of women who had experienced no sexual trauma. Personality functioning was assessed using the Dimensional Assessment of Personality Pathology. Groups who had experienced childhood sexual abuse displayed the highest degree of personality disturbance; however, the additive effects of repeated sexual trauma were limited. These findings may reflect the outcome of specific adversity in childhood on the psychobiological constructs underlying personality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496-504
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of personality disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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