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Predictors of Revictimization in Online Dating

Published onMar 01, 2022
Predictors of Revictimization in Online Dating
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Predictors of Revictimization in Online Dating

Introduction: While a significant association between childhood maltreatment and sexual victimization in adulthood has been established in previous research, it is unknown whether this also applies to the context of online dating. Therefore, we aimed to investigate whether revictimization is common in online users and which mechanisms mediate this risk. Method: The participants were 413 heterosexual women aged between 18 and 35 who used mobile dating applications in the year before the assessment. The participants reported information on using mobile dating applications, motives for engaging in casual sex, protective dating strategies, and general motives for online dating. Results: Childhood maltreatment severity was positively related to both cyber and in-person sexual victimization severity. Motives related to regulating negative affect and self-esteem mediated the relationship between childhood maltreatment severity and in-person sexual victimization severity in adulthood. Furthermore, those motives moderated the association between cyber and in-person sexual victimization. The effect of cyber victimization on in-person sexual victimization was stronger at higher levels of affect/self-esteem regulatory sex motives compared to lower levels. The affect/self-esteem regulatory sex motives were not related to protective dating strategies. Discussion: The results of the study imply that a history of childhood maltreatment is a risk factor for sexual victimization in adulthood among young heterosexual women who use online dating. One of the factors linking these variables in this population might be affect/self-esteem regulatory sex motives. Future studies should aim at replicating these associations prospectively.


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