Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

June 2003


Published in Child Abuse & Neglect 27 (2003), pp. 751-767. Copyright © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. Used by permission.


Objectives: This study had two primary objectives: First, to examine the nature and co-occurrence of various forms of child maltreatment (sexual, physical. emotional, and witnessing violence) reported by Latina college students, and second, to explore coexisting maltreatment types and acculturation status as possible contributors to long-term adjustment difficulties.

Method: Participants were 112 Latina undergraduate students categorized by the number of childhood maltreatment types experienced (0, 1, or 2 or more) and acculturation level (1 to 5). The possible effects of co-occurring forms of maltreatment, in conjunction with acculturation status, were investigated with respect to participants’ reported trauma symptomatology. Data were collected using self-report measures.

Results: Nearly three out of 10 participants (29%) experienced more than one type of child maltreatment and, as expected, these individuals reported greater trauma symptomatology than those reporting either a single type of maltreatment or no maltreatment at all. Those who reported multiple types also endured more severe maltreatment than did respondents who experienced a single type. Acculturation level was neither directly related to trauma symptoms nor did it moderate the lasting correlates of maltreatment among victims. Interestingly, those who experienced a single form of maltreatment reported no more trauma symptoms than did participants who reported no maltreatment history at all.

Conclusion: This investigation documents a large degree of overlap among various forms of self-reported childhood maltreatment within a Latina college population. The results underscore the need to consider multiple forms of maltreatment, as well as severity, when making inferences regarding potential effects on later functioning.