Women who experience intimate partner violence (IPV) report high rates of HIV/sexual risk behaviors. Childhood abuse has been linked to HIV/sexual risk behaviors among IPV-victimized women; however, limited research has examined factors that may influence this association. The current study tested the moderating role of avoidant coping in the relation between childhood abuse types (physical, emotional, and sexual) and HIV/sexual risk behaviors. Participants were 212 community women currently experiencing IPV (mean age = 36.63 years, 67.0% African American). Higher levels of avoidant coping were related to more severe childhood abuse types. Severity of childhood abuse types was associated with greater HIV/sexual risk behaviors. Avoidant coping moderated the relation between childhood sexual abuse severity and HIV/sexual risk behaviors, such that this association was significant for IPV-victimized women with high (but not low) levels of avoidant coping. Findings suggest the utility of targeting avoidant coping in interventions aimed at preventing or reducing HIV/sexual risk behaviors among IPV-victimized women with a history of childhood sexual abuse.
Avoidant coping as a moderator of the association between childhood abuse types and HIV/sexual risk behaviors