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J Pediatr Psychol. 2011 Aug;36(7):743-52. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsr003. Epub 2011 Feb 19.

Childhood maltreatment, psychological dysregulation, and risky sexual behaviors in female adolescents.

Author information

1
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229-3039, USA. jennie.noll@cchmc.org

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Maltreated female adolescents are at risk for engaging in sexual behaviors consistent with HIV infection and teen pregnancy. The current study applied a model positing the key role of psychological dysregulation in the development of adolescent females' sexual behavior.

METHODS:

The sample consisted of adolescent females aged 14-17 years who had experienced substantiated childhood maltreatment (n = 275) and a demographically matched, non-maltreated comparison group (n = 210).

RESULTS:

Multiple mediator analysis revealed that, when in company with a host of plausible mechanisms, sexual preoccupation mediated the relationship between psychological dysregulation and risky sexual behaviors.

CONCLUSION:

Maltreated females may have difficulty regulating emotions, cognitions, and behaviors, which, when coupled with a propensity to entertain sexual thoughts and consume sexually explicit materials, may increase the likelihood that they act on sexual impulses and engage in high-risk sexual behaviors.

PMID:
21335615
PMCID:
PMC3146756
DOI:
10.1093/jpepsy/jsr003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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