n Child Abuse Research in South Africa - Behavioural re-enactments of childhood trauma : a review of the empirical literature

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-1383



Exposure to interpersonal violence during childhood has been found to be associated with a range of traumatic re-enactment behaviours including: perpetration: in which the individual is more likely to subsequently go on to victimise others; revictimisation: in which the individual faces a greater risk of exposure to subsequent interpersonal violence, and self-harm: in which victimised individuals face a greater risk of subsequently inflicting harm on themselves. This articles reviews empirical literature on traumatic re-enactment behaviours that has been published over the past 30 years. Findings from the review are presented in three parts: (a) forms of traumatic re-enactment, (b) traumatic antecedents to re-enactment behaviours, and (c) factors which have been found to mediate/moderate the association between developmental trauma and re-enactment behaviours. The paper concludes by considering the implications of the literature reviewed for future research, theory, and practice.

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