Although numerous studies have documented the long-term effects of childhood victimization on mental health in adulthood, few have directly examined potential mediators and moderators of this association. Using data from the Welfare, Children, and Families project (1999)-a probability sample of 2,402 predominantly black and Hispanic low-income women with children living in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio-we predict psychological distress in adulthood with measures of physical assault and sexual coercion before age 18. Building on previous research, we test the mediating and moderating influences of emotional support, instrumental support, and self-esteem. Although we observe no indirect effects of physical assault, the effect of sexual coercion is partially mediated by instrumental support and self-esteem. We also find that the effects of physical assault and sexual coercion are moderated (buffered) by emotional support and self-esteem.
- Psychological distress
- Social support
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health