Betrayal and Revictimization: Preliminary Findings

Robyn L. Gobin, Jennifer J. Freyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The link between childhood sexual abuse and subsequent sexual, emotional, and physical revictimization has been widely reported. The literature is limited, however, in its exploration of the extent to which the level of betrayal inherent in a given childhood traumatic experience affects the likelihood of experiencing similar revictimization in adolescence and adulthood. This study assessed revictimization within a betrayal trauma framework among a sample of 271 college students. As predicted, individuals who reported experiencing high-betrayal trauma at any time point (childhood, adolescence, or adulthood) were more likely to report experiences of trauma high in betrayal during adolescence and adulthood. Relative risk ratios suggest that those who experience childhood trauma high in betrayal are 4.31 times more likely to be victimized in adolescence and 5.44 times more likely to be victimized in adulthood. Logistic regression analyses identified rate of childhood high-betrayal traumas and high levels of traumatic symptoms as significant predictors of high-betrayal trauma victimization in adolescence. Finally, participants' responses to an exploratory self-report measure examining the relationship among revictimization, awareness for interpersonal betrayals, and response to betrayals in interpersonal contexts were analyzed. Preliminary findings indicate that revictimization risk may be linked to inaccurate identification of specific intimate partner betrayals and the inability to engage in proper self-protection. Suggestions for future research and clinical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-257
Number of pages16
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • betrayal
  • childhood sexual abuse
  • revictimization
  • trauma
  • trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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