c3-16-03jz.08-04-03.doc - Sexual at-risk behaviors 1 Running Head SEXUAL AT-RISK BEHAVIORS Sexual At-Risk Behaviors of Sexually Abused Adolescent Girls

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Sexual at-risk behaviors 1 Running Head: SEXUAL AT-RISK BEHAVIORS . Sexual At-Risk Behaviors of Sexually Abused Adolescent Girls Caroline Cinq-Mars John Wright Mireille Cyr Pierre McDuff Universite de Montreal
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Sexual at-risk behaviors 2 Abstract The present study investigated sexual at-risk behaviors of sexually abused adolescent girls. Variables of interest were presence of consensual sexual activity, age at first consensual intercourse, number of sexual partners, condom use, and pregnancies. Participants were 125 sexually abused adolescent girls aged 12 to 17 years. Results showed that severity of sexual abuse (e.g., penetration, multiple perpetrators, physical coercion, multiple incidents of abuse) was related to a greater number of sexual at-risk behaviors . For instance, adolescents with a history of sexual abuse involving penetration were 13 times as likely to have been pregnant. Although family characteristics were significantly associated with being sexually active, their effect proved non-significant in the final hierarchical regression. Regression analyses clearly showed that the likelihood of engaging in sexual at-risk behaviors increased as a function of the number of severity factors. Keywords: sexual abuse, adolescent girls, risk behaviors
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Sexual at-risk behaviors 3 Sexual At-Risk Behaviors of Sexually Abused Adolescent Girls Over the past decade, growing attention has been devoted to the aftermath of childhood sexual abuse. Since adolescence is characterized by the emergence of new forms of sexuality and peer relationships, sexual abuse may have a determining influence on how sexual experiences and dating relationships evolve. Given the possible negative consequences of certain sexual behaviors adopted by adolescents (e.g., sexual promiscuity and lack of condom use leading to sexually transmitted diseases), this aspect of the lives of sexually abused adolescent girls warrants careful examination. Sexual at-risk behaviors are behaviors related to sexuality that present an immediate physical or psychological health risk and may compromise future health outcomes as well as educational and occupational achievements (Sarigiani, Lenoraann, & Petersen, 1999). Early age of first consensual intercourse, multiple sexual partners, inconsistent use of condoms, and teenage pregnancies are obvious health risks documented by a host of studies (see reviews by Sarigiani et al., 1999, and Tapert, Aarons, Sedlar, & Brown, 2001). The present study explored the sexual at-risk behaviors of a sample of sexually abused adolescent girls. Our main goal was to better understand the nature and extent of identifiable associations between sexual behaviors, abuse characteristics, and other variables related to abuse victims and their environment.
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