Sexual Victimization, Childhood Emotional Abuse, and Distress: Daily Coping and Perceived Control as Mediators

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Abstract

The primary aim of the present study was to assess 2 potential mediators (daily avoidant coping and perceived control) of the relations between past sexual victimization and childhood emotional abuse and current distress. Participants (N = 268) were undergraduate students in psychology courses at a large Midwestern university who completed measures of sexual victimization, childhood emotional abuse, neuroticism, and distress at baseline; daily measures of avoidant coping and perceived control over stressors for 14 days (Time 2); and measures of avoidant coping, perceived control, and distress at Time 3. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test the mediation model. The indirect path between childhood emotional abuse and T3 distress through daily avoidant coping was significant and remained significant in an alternate model that controlled for baseline neuroticism. The indirect effect of childhood emotional abuse on T3 distress through perceived control was not significant. Sexual victimization was not associated with greater use of avoidant coping or perceived control in the SEM models. The present study added to the literature by assessing multiple traumas and multiple mediators using longitudinal, daily diary methods.

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