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Pediatrics. 1994 Apr;93(4):570-5.

A comparison of risky health behaviors of sexually active, sexually abused, and abstaining adolescents.

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  • 1College of Education, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa 35487-0312.



To report on rates of sexual abuse among a normative sample of adolescents and identify psychosocial correlates associated with sexual abuse.


An anonymous self-report survey examining an array of psychosocial items to which 3448 grade 8 and 10 students from rural and metropolitan school districts in a southern state responded.


There was a 105 rate of sexual abuse among this normative sample. Victims of forced sex were disproportionately female and African-American, and were more likely to reside in single-parent households. These sexually abused girls reported significantly higher levels of risky health behaviors and risky attitudes on 11 (P < .001) of the 12 comparisons. Sexually abused boys showed a similar pattern on eight (P < .001) comparisons.


Indications are that forced sex experiences are associated strongly with risky health behaviors in some adolescents, which should alert clinicians to the possibility of sexual abuse.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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