Research on childhood sexual abuse (CSA) has consistently demonstrated the long-term effects of such abuse, not only on survivors’ development, but also on the nature and quality of their adult relationships, particularly romantic ones. In this study we examined the moderating role of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and sexual-related posttraumatic stress symptoms (sexual-related PTSS) between CSA and relationship satisfaction. Survey data from 529 individuals who reported being currently in a romantic relationship were analyzed. In the first set of analyses, results demonstrated that participants with CSA reported significantly lower relationship satisfaction and significantly greater severity of PTSD and sexual-related PTSS than participants without CSA. Sexual-related PTSS but not PTSD moderated the association between CSA and participants’ relationship satisfaction, with the model of sexual-related PTSS explaining 20.8% of the variance in relationship satisfaction and the model of PTSD explaining 11.3% of this variance. In the second set of analyses conducted among survivors of CSA only, higher sexual-related PTSS severity was linked with ongoing abuse and with abuse by a non-family member. This study points to the potential contribution made by sexual-related PTSS to relationship satisfaction among survivors of CSA.
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© 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology