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Child Abuse Negl. 1997 Sep;21(9):823-32.

Self-reported health and behavioral problems among adolescent victims of rape in France: results of a cross-sectional survey.

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  • 1INSERM, Villejuif, France.



To measure the prevalence rate of rape among French adolescents; to analyze the associated health and behavioral problems; to analyze the use of the health care system by rape victims.


A national representative sample of 8,140 students attending public secondary schools in France (grades 8 to 12) filled in a self-administered questionnaire (274 questions) on health and behavior problems (acceptance rate = 87%). Each rape victim in the sample (n = 61) was matched to two nonvictims (n = 122).


The reported prevalence rate of rape was .8% (.9% among girls, .6% among boys). For both boys and girls, there was a relationship between rape and current sleep difficulties, depressive symptoms, somatic complaints, tobacco consumption, and behavior problems (running away, violent behavior, stealing, and school absenteeism). Additional problems were associated for boy rape victims: attempted suicide, regular use of alcohol and of illicit drugs. Rape victims did consult health professionals, but the majority saw neither a mental health specialist nor a social worker.


The findings indicate that rape victims, especially boys, have more behavior problems and health problems than nonrape victims. Authors suggest that adolescents who have ran away from home, attempted suicide, or manifested violent behavior should be systematically asked about rape.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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