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NCJ Number: 204511 Find in a Library
Title: Relationship Between Sexual Abuse and Sexual Risk Among High School Students: Findings From the 1997 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey
Journal: Maternal and Child Health Journal  Volume:4  Issue:2  Dated:June 2000  Pages:125-134
Author(s): Anita Raj; Jay G. Silverman; Hortensia Amaro
Editor(s): Milton Kotelchuck Ph.D.
Date Published: June 2000
Page Count: 10
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined whether adolescents with a history of sexual abuse were more likely than those with no such history to engage in sexual risk behaviors.
Abstract: Sexual abuse has increasingly become recognized as a common occurrence among both female and male adolescents. Several recent studies indicate that a history of sexual abuse is related to increased sexual health risk; yet few of these studies have been conducted with adolescents. This study attempts to assess the relationship between the history of sexual abuse among male and female adolescents and sexual risk behaviors. The study was designed to answer two questions: (1) among sexually experienced adolescents, are teens with a history of sexual abuse more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior than those without this history and (2) do the associations between history of sexual abuse and sexual health risk remain significant once other behaviors related to HIV risk, individual characteristics, and access to sexuality education are accounted for? The data used for this study were collected through the 1997 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) which is a self-report written instrument designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 1997, the YRBS was administered to students in grades 9 through 12 in 58 randomly selected public high schools across the State. In this study, only students reporting having ever engaged in sexual intercourse (831=boys and 779=girls) were included in these analyses. Findings showed that among sexually experienced adolescents, a history of sexual abuse was significantly associated with sexual risk behaviors and engaging in sexual activity resulting in pregnancy. Although history of sexual abuse was approximately three times more common among female than male participants, the link between sexual abuse and sexual risk appears to be even more dramatic among adolescent boys. Among adolescent girls a history of sexual abuse was significantly associated in the multivariate models with early initiation of intercourse, having had three or more sex partners, and having ever been pregnant. Future research is recommended to detect and describe the mechanisms by which sexual assault relates to sexual risk behaviors among both male and female adolescents of varied racial/ethnic backgrounds. References
Main Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse
Index Term(s): Adolescent abuse; Adolescents at risk; Child abuse; Children at risk; Crimes against children; Male sexual abuse victims; Sexual assault victims; Sexual behavior; Sexually abused adolescents
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