Article

Childhood Maltreatment Histories, Alcohol and Other Drug Use Symptoms, and Sexual Risk Behavior in a Treatment Sample of Adolescents

Department of Clinical and Social Sciences, Mt. Hope Family Center, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14608, USA.
American Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 4.23). 03/2012; 102 Suppl 2(S2):S250-7. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300628
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We tested a structural model of relations among self-reported childhood maltreatment, alcohol and other drug abuse and dependence symptoms, and sexual risk behavior in a sample of adolescents receiving outpatient treatment of substance use problems.
Structured interviews were administered to an ethnically diverse sample of 394 adolescents (114 girls, 280 boys; mean = 16.30 years; SD = 1.15 years; 44.9% Hispanic, 20.6% African American, 25.4% White non-Hispanic, and 9.1% other) in 2 outpatient treatment settings.
Path analyses yielded findings consistent with a mediation model. Alcohol abuse and dependence symptoms mediated (1) relations between emotional neglect scores and sex with co-occurring alcohol use and (2) relations between sexual abuse scores and sex with co-occurring alcohol use. Drug abuse and dependence symptoms mediated relations between (1) neglect scores and (2) sexual intercourse with co-occurring alcohol or drug use, as well as unprotected sexual intercourse.
Efforts to treat alcohol or drug use problems among adolescents or to prevent transmission of HIV or other sexually transmitted infections among youths with substance use problems may require tailoring treatment or prevention protocols to address client histories of maltreatment.

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    • "The second aim was to test the indirect association between maltreatment and risk behaviors through elevations in callous/unemotional traits. Previous investigations have found that child maltreatment is related to a range of risk outcomes such as substance abuse (Oshri et al., 2013; Shin, Hong, & Wills, 2012), physical fighting (Smith, Ireland, & Thornberry, 2005), and engaging in risky sexual behavior (Oshri et al., 2012). Indeed, increased levels of callous/unemotional traits were positively associated with physical fighting, having sex with strangers, and binge drinking. "
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    ABSTRACT: Child maltreatment poses significant risk to the development of callous/unemotional traits as well as risk behaviors such as engaging in violence, having sex with strangers, and binge drinking. In the current study, the indirect pathway from child maltreatment to risk behaviors was examined via callous/unemotional traits; whereas the conscientious personality trait was tested as a moderator of this indirect pathway. Young adults and parents (N=361; Mage=19.14, SD=1.44) completed questionnaires on child maltreatment histories, callousness/unemotional traits, personality characteristics, and risk behaviors. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the hypothesized direct, indirect and conditional indirect effects. Findings showed indirect links between the child maltreatment latent factor and physical fighting, having sex with strangers, and binge drinking via callous/unemotional traits. Furthermore, the conscientiousness personality type significantly buffered the connection between callous/unemotional traits and physical fighting, supporting a conditional indirect effects. Callous/unemotional traits are important factors in the underlying mechanism between child maltreatment and risk behaviors among young adults, and conscientiousness serves as a protective factor against violence. Preventive intervention programs and clinicians may benefit from focusing in addressing callous/unemotional traits among youth who report childhood maltreatment experiences as well as targeting conscientiousness as a protective factor. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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    • "In addition to the risk of physical injury, children who are the victims of maltreatment are at risk for a number of adverse psychological and behavioral outcomes. For example, such children are at elevated risk for mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression (Cohen, Brown, & Smailes, 2001) and substance abuse problems relative to their peers (Lansford, Dodge, Pettit, & Bates, 2010; Oshri, Tubman, & Burnette, 2012). They also have lower social status and are perceived as more aggressive and less cooperative (Salzinger, Feldman, Hammer, & Rosario, 1993), are more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behaviors that can lead to disease or early pregnancy (Noll, Haralson, Butler, & Shenk, 2011), and more frequently perpetrate violent crimes directed toward romantic partners and others as they mature, relative to controls (Kunitz, Levy, McCloskey, & Gabriel, 1998). "
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