Sexual abuse and sexual risk behavior: Beyond the impact of psychiatric problems
adolescents, child abuse and neglect, HIV/AIDS, risk behavior
Published: December 04, 2009
This study examined the association between sexual abuse (SA) and sex risk in girls and boys placed in alternative and therapeutic school settings while controlling for psychiatric problems. Adolescents were recruited from alternative and therapeutic schools. Youth completed audio computer-assisted self-interviews assessing childhood abuse, sexual behaviors, sexual attitudes, and psychiatric symptoms. Of the 162 youth with available data, 23% reported a moderate or severe SA history. After controlling for gender and the presence of a psychiatric diagnosis, youth with a SA history were significantly more likely to have engaged in sex, had sex in the last 90 days, and engaged in unprotected sex. Adolescents with a history of SA also endorsed fewer advantages of using condoms. SA is uniquely associated with sexual behavior and attitudes even when adjusting for the presence of a psychiatric diagnosis. These data have implications for interventions for those with SA histories.
MHLP Key Personnel:
- Celia Lescano, Ph.D.
Other Key Personnel:
- Larry Brown
- Christopher Houck
- Nicole Nugent
- April Peters
Houck, C., Nugent, N., Lescano, C., Peters, A. L., & Brown, L. (2010). Sexual abuse and sexual risk behavior: Beyond the impact of psychiatric problems. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35(5), 473-483. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jsp111.