Objective: The goal was to examine, in an all-female sample, possible mechanisms for the relationship between a history of childhood sexual abuse and the likelihood of perpetrating sexual abuse as an adult. It was hypothesized that Borderline and Antisocial Personality Disorder tendencies would mediate the relationship between these two forms of abuse.
Method: One hundred forty two female participants (61 sex-offenders and 81 non-sex offenders) were recruited from a women’s prison in the Midwest. The participants completed measures that included a childhood history of sexual abuse, socially desirable responding, primary and secondary psychopathy, and Borderline Personality Disorder tendencies.
Results: Participants in the sexual-offender group reported more frequent instances of childhood sexual abuse (p < .05, M = 16.4, SD = 7.2) than participants in the non-sex offender group (M = 12.2, SD = 7.7). Consistent with past research, childhood sexual abuse was related to Borderline Personality Disorder tendencies (r = .36, p < .01). However, discriminant function analyses did not reveal support for our mediational hypotheses. Finally, the results indicated that participants in the sexual-offender group experienced childhood sexual abuse for a greater duration of time (p < .05, M = 27.8, SD = 20.5 months) than participants in the non-sex offender group (M = 16.6, SD = 10.4).
Conclusions: This study replicated previous research conducted on all-male samples, suggesting that the nature of the sexual abuse suffered in childhood is an important variable in predicting future sexual abuse perpetration.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/catherine_zois/5/