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Child Abuse Negl. 2005 Oct;29(10):1141-53.

The association between childhood and adolescent sexual abuse and proxies for sexual risk behavior: a random sample of the general population of Sweden.

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Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Montefiore 7 South, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



Several studies with small and "high risk" samples have demonstrated that a history of childhood or adolescent sexual abuse (CASA) is associated with sexual risk behaviors (SRBs). However, few studies with large random samples from the general population have specifically examined the relationship between CASA and SRBs with a comprehensive set of measures.


The study was a cross-sectional retrospective survey of past and current sexual health and behavior.


A random sample of 4781 persons from the Swedish Post Address Register was obtained, which included 6,119,000 Swedish citizens in 1996. Of those persons, 2810 participants agreed to participate in the study. Participants were interviewed as well as administered a questionnaire regarding their sexual health and behavior.


Using Mann-Whitney U tests, a history of CASA was found to be associated with younger age at first intercourse; younger age at diagnosis of first sexually transmitted infection (STI); greater frequency of unintended pregnancy; greater likelihood of participation in group sex; higher likelihood of not interrupting sexual intercourse despite the risk of pregnancy or risk of an STI; greater likelihood of exchanging sex for money or other necessities/drugs; more frequent substance use in the last 48 hours; and higher likelihood of adult sexual and physical assault.


The findings of this study confirm previous research, which has reported an association between CASA and SRBs in smaller and high-risk samples. Clinicians working with adults with a history of CASA should be aware of the relationship between CASA and SRBs and be prepared to address such issues during therapy.

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