College of Arts and Sciences Publications and Scholarship


Studies show that an estimated 21-50% of children who have experienced maltreatment will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within their lifetime (Schuck & Widom 2019). Research suggests that the type and number of exposures to trauma may influence symptom severity. Further, trauma symptom scores of children who experienced child sexual abuse (CSA) were higher among the children who endorsed poly-victimization, meaning when CSA was combined with another form of maltreatment (Racine et al 2022). This study seeks to examine the impact of poly-victimization and combined types of maltreatment on children’s PTSD scores in an archival dataset from a child advocacy center (CAC) serving children exposed to various forms of trauma. Participants from the overall child sample (N = 721) who have pre-treatment PTSD scores (n = 290) will be analyzed. The analyzed sample includes 83 minors exposed to poly-victimization, 175 exposed to single victimization, and 32 where the trauma type was missing from the dataset. Specifically, the following hypotheses will be tested: (1) victims of poly-victimization will have higher PTSD scores than victims of single victimization; (2) among participants with poly-victimization, those with a combination of sexual abuse and physical abuse will have the highest PTSD scores compared to other combinations. Results will be discussed in the context of current referral pathways for child advocacy centers.

Publication Date



College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Psychology


Child Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences