The deleterious psychological effects of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) have been extensively documented in the research literature. A limitation of this research, however, has been a reliance on overly restrictive and limiting measurements of CSA. Researchers have most commonly referred to discrete instances of rape and molestation; however, evidence suggests that sexual abuse in childhood can include a wide array of acts and that individual survivors can endure many of these.
This study employed latent class analysis to identify homogeneous groups of adult CSA survivors characterized by similar typologies of sexual trauma within a large sample of Danish, treatment-seeking survivors of CSA and incest (N = 454). In total, 18 separate contact and noncontact abuse acts were modeled. Furthermore, the association between abuse-related variables (victim gender, the age at which the abuse started, duration of abuse, and perpetrator of abuse) and the resultant CSA groups, or classes, was estimated.
Four homogeneous CSA groups were identified: an intercourse group, a high-verbal/low-contact group, a high-sexual-contact group, and a sexual-touch group. Some of the groups were distinguishable from others in terms of the frequency of the abuse and the type of perpetrator identified.
The results show that "typologies" of CSA may provide a useful way to describe complex patterns of abuse while also facilitating future investigations of CSA outcome and treatment need. (PsycINFO Database Record