Book Reviews -- Sexual Abuse and Consensual Sex: Women's Developmental Patterns and Outcomes by Gail E. Wyatt, Michael D. Newcomb and Monika H. Riederle

By LoPiccolo, Joseph | Journal of Marriage and Family, February 1995 | Go to article overview

Book Reviews -- Sexual Abuse and Consensual Sex: Women's Developmental Patterns and Outcomes by Gail E. Wyatt, Michael D. Newcomb and Monika H. Riederle


LoPiccolo, Joseph, Journal of Marriage and Family


Sexual Abuse and Consensual Sex: Women's Developmental Patterns and Outcomes. Gail E. Wyatt, Michael D. Newcomb, & Monika H. Riederle. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. 1993. 192 pp. ISBN 0-8039-4733-X. $24.95 cloth.

This book reports on a highly ambitious study conducted by Gail Wyatt and her colleagues. The study was designed to provide information on the sexual development of European American and African American women, focusing on how family variables and the experience of sexual abuse relate to adult sexual behavior and attitudes, and to psychological well-being. A major strength of this study concerns the size and representativeness of the sample. Rather than using a clinical sample or a convenience sample of college undergraduates, this study used random telephone dialing to obtain a stratified probability sample of 248 women, with quotas for ethnicity, education, marital status, and numbers of children.

From coding of data obtained in a highly structured interview format, linear structural equation modeling was used to elucidate the relationship between predictor variables and outcome. Predictor variables assessed included familial and nonfamilial childhood sexual abuse, quality of family relationships, and family messages about sex. Outcome variables included probability of revictimization as an adult (rape), sexual attitudes, experience, and functioning measures, and psychological well-being.

Another major strength of this book is the complex statistical analysis of the data. Rather than simplistically correlating occurrence of childhood sexual abuse with adult functioning, a host of moderator variables were considered. …

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