Literature on childhood maltreatment has primarily focused on sexual abuse and, in limited instances, physical abuse. Typically, the samples are limited to females. This study was aimed at exploring gender differences in those sexually maltreated by family members versus non-family members. In addition, the effect of multiple types of maltreatment (psychological, physical, and sexual abuse) on mental health, and whether outcomes vary by gender were evaluated. The sample consisted of an archival data set from students who attended a southern California university. This study used a sample that included 131 females and 135 males. The results of the study indicated that males reported being sexually abused by non-family members more than females and females reported being abused by family members more than males. There were no significant gender differences in reported levels of psychological and physical abuse. However, males reported experiencing more severe forms of sexual abuse than expected and females reported experiencing more mild and moderate forms of sexual abuse than expected. Psychological abuse was found to be significantly correlated both with physical and sexual abuse. In addition, both psychological and physical abuse were found to be significantly correlated with mental health outcomes. However, psychological abuse was the only type of maltreatment to account for a significant amount of the variance in mental health outcome. The relationship between abuse and mental health outcomes did not differ by gender. The study is limited in its use of a college sample, the fact that the data were collected cross-sectionally and retrospectively. Nevertheless, the results are significant in highlighting the long-term negative impact of psychological maltreatment even in a relatively well-adjusted sample such as a college population.

LLU Discipline





Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Faith H. McClure

Second Advisor

M. Jean Peacock

Third Advisor

David A. Vermeersch

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Subject - Local

Child Abuse, Sexual -- psychology; Incest; Adult Survivors of Child Abuse.


Doctoral Project

Page Count


Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

Included in

Psychology Commons