Gender differences in pathways from child physical and sexual abuse to adolescent risky sexual behavior among high-risk youth

Susan Yoon, Laura A. Voith, Julia M. Kobulsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated gender differences in the roles of internalizing and externalizing symptoms and substance use as pathways linking child physical and sexual abuse to risky sexual behavior among youth at risk of maltreatment. Path analysis was performed with 862 adolescents drawn from Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect. Four waves of data collected in the United States were used: childhood physical and sexual abuse experiences (from ages 0–12) were assessed by Child Protective Services reports, internalizing and externalizing symptoms were measured at age 14, substance use was measured at age 16, and risky sexual behavior was measured at age 18. Physical abuse was directly associated with risky sexual behavior in boys but not girls. For girls, physical abuse had a significant indirect effect on risky sexual behavior via externalizing symptoms. Gender-focused preventive intervention strategies may be effective in reducing risky sexual behavior among at-risk adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-97
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume64
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This document includes data from the Consortium of Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN), which was funded by the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN), Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, and the Dept. of Health and Human Services (The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN)). The data were made available by the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, and have been used with permission. The collector of the original data, the funder, NDACAN, Cornell University and their agents or employees bear no responsibility for the analyses or interpretations presented here.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Child physical abuse
  • Externalizing symptoms
  • Internalizing symptoms
  • Risky sexual behavior
  • Sexual abuse
  • Substance use

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