Adolescents selling sex: Exposure to abuse, mental health, self-harm behaviour and the need for help and support-a study of a Swedish national sample.
ABSTRACT Background: Selling sex is not uncommon among adolescents and we need to increase our knowledge of how this affects them. Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate adolescents who sell sex regarding sexual, mental and physical abuse, mental health as estimated by using the Hopkins Symptom Check List-25 (HSCL-25), self-harm behaviour and the adolescents' experience of receiving help and support. Methods: The study was carried out on a national representative sample of adolescents (mean age 18.3 years) in Swedish high schools in the final year of their 3-year programme. The study had 3498 participants and a response rate of 60.4%. Results: Of the adolescents, 1.5% stated that they had sold sexual services. The selling of sex was associated with a history of sexual, mental and physical abuse. Poorer mental health and a higher degree of self-harm behaviour were reported among the adolescents who had sold sex. Help and support was sought to a greater extent by adolescents who had sold sex but these adolescents were not as satisfied with this help and support as the other adolescents. Conclusions: Adolescents that sell sex are a group especially exposed to sexual, mental and physical abuse. They have poorer mental health and engage in more self-harm behaviour than other adolescents. They are in need of more help and support than other adolescents and it is reasonable to assert that more resources, research and attention should be directed to this group to provide better help and support in the future.
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ABSTRACT: Background Many, although not all, juvenile detainees are known to be sexual risk-takers but little attention has been paid to why they engage in early sexual intercourse, have more partners, often have sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and without protection. Objective To understand the rationale behind sexual risk-taking among detained adolescents. Method Qualitative study of interviews with nine girls and 11 boys, aged 15 to 20 years, at detention centres in southern Sweden. Results Two major categories surface in the analysis of the interviews: contradictions and vulnerability. A core category, chance outdoes risk that describes the adolescents' pragmatic view on sexual risk-taking as being a chance of something good rather than a risk of something bad, captures the connection between these categories and the individual. Conclusion Among our interviewees, sexual chance taking appears rewarding. Recognising this rationality is valuable for all professionals promoting sexual health within similar groups of youths.The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care 07/2013; · 1.81 Impact Factor