Research on the long-term effects of sexual and physical abuse during childhood has produced conflicting results. While some studies have found increases in mental health symptoms, others have found no long-term effects of child abuse. Little is known about the differential mental health effects of abuse by a caregiver (high-betrayal trauma) versus abuse by a non-caregiver (low-betrayal trauma), developed from "Betrayal Trauma Theory" (Freyd, 1996; Freyd, DePrince & Gleaves, 2007). The present study is a retrospective, cross-sectional survey study examining exposure to childhood sexual and physical abuse and adult mental health symptoms, possible outcomes of high-betrayal trauma, as well as other related variables including demographics in a sample (N=534) of ethnically diverse undergraduate college students in rural Hawai'i. Findings support the hypothesis that childhood abuse predicts adult negative mental health symptoms but did not support the hypothesis that high-betrayal trauma would be predictive of greater mental health symptoms.
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