Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

RaeAnn Anderson


The present study examined intergenerational continuity of sexual violence victimization across the lifespan within mother-daughter dyads. Because increased risk for sexual violence in daughters is not the fault of the mother, this study examined risk factors across socio-ecological levels (i.e., individual, familial, and community risk factors) and the interplay across risk levels. Undergraduate and community dwelling mother-daughter dyads (N=202) completed self-report measures of Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA), adolescent/adult sexual violence victimization (ASV), demographics, psychopathology, parenting, abuse and abuser characteristics, intimate partner violence (IPV), rape culture, and sexual education characteristics. Multiple mediation, moderation, and DYADIC analyses were implemented to test study hypotheses. Results support intergenerational continuity across the life span between mothers and daughters. For individual level risk factors, maternal psychopathology (i.e., PTSD, depression, alcohol use), age of abuse onset, and knowledge of maternal sexual violence victimization increased risk for intergenerational continuity. Regarding familial level factors, positive parenting served as a significant protective factor while abuse perpetrated by a relative or a male significantly increased risk of intergenerational continuity. For community level factors, risk for intergenerational continuity was increased by exposure to increased hostility toward women within participants’ communities and diversity related topics in sexual education courses. Interplay across levels was present whereby positive parenting served as a protective factor against effects of maternal psychopathology on intergenerational continuity of sexual violence. Findings emphasize the positive impact of positive parenting in prevention of sexual violence for future generations and should be a key target of intervention for sexually abused mothers.