Men's self-definitions of abusive childhood sexual experiences, and potentially related risky behavioral and psychiatric outcomes

Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, United States.
Child Abuse & Neglect (Impact Factor: 2.47). 02/2008; 32(1):83-97. DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2007.09.005
Source: PubMed


To estimate how many heterosexual and gay/bisexual men self-define abusive childhood sexual experiences (CSEs) to be childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and to assess whether CSA self-definition is associated with risky behavioral and psychiatric outcomes in adulthood.
In Philadelphia County, 197 (66%) of 298 recruited men participated in a telephone survey. They were screened for CSEs and then asked if they self-defined abusive CSEs to be CSA; they also were asked about risk behavior histories and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression symptoms.
Of 43 (22%) participants with abusive CSEs, 35% did not and 65% did self-define abusive CSEs to be CSA ("Non-Definers" and "Definers," respectively). Heterosexual and gay/bisexual subgroups' CSA self-definition rates did not significantly differ. When self-definition subgroups were compared to those without CSEs ("No-CSEs"), Non-Definers had lower perceived parental care (p=.007) and fewer siblings (p=.03), Definers had more Hispanics and fewer African Americans (p=.04), and No-CSEs had fewer gay/bisexual men (p=.002) and fewer reports of physical abuse histories (p=.02) than comparison groups. Non-Definers reported more sex under the influence (p=.001) and a higher mean number of all lifetime sex partners (p=.004) as well as (only) female sex partners (p=.05). More Non-Definers than Definers reported having experienced penetrative sex as part of their CSA (83% vs. 35%, p=.006). Different explanations about self-definition were provided by subgroups.
Many men with abusive CSEs do not self-define these CSEs to be CSA, though not in a way that differs by sexual identity. The process by which men self-define their abusive CSEs to be CSA or not appears to be associated not only with self-explanations that differ by self-definition subgroup, but also with behavioral outcomes that impart risk to Non-Definers.

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    • "The current results indicate that a history of CSA increases the risk of ESI in a similar manner in men and women, directly and through higher sexual compulsivity. Future research is indicated to further explore the predictors of this reversal in the proportion of women and men reporting CSA and ESI, including a greater tendency for men, as compared to women, to underidentify as CSA survivors (Holmes, 2008) and yet to be more likely to use ESI as a coping mechanism to relieve distress (Tsapelas et al., 2011). The association between CSA and ESI is consistent not only with several studies but also with theoretical models developed to account for the short-and long-term effects of CSA. "
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    ABSTRACT: We tested a mediation model in which the relationship between child sexual abuse (CSA) severity and extradyadic sexual involvement (ESI) is explained through sexual compulsivity. Participants were 669 adults currently involved in an intimate relationship who completed self-report questionnaires. Prevalence of ESI was 32% in women and 57% in men survivors, more than twice the rates among participants with no CSA history. Sexual compulsivity was significantly higher in participants with multiple extradyadic partners as compared to participants reporting only one extradyadic relationship, who nevertheless scored higher than participants reporting no extradyadic partner. The hypothesized structural equation model (SEM) was invariant across men and women and indicated CSA severity was positively and significantly associated with sexual compulsivity, which, in turn, predicted ESI. However, there was also a direct association between CSA and ESI. High CSA severity, directly and through high sexual compulsivity, led to the highest probability of ESI.
    The Journal of Sex Research 09/2015; DOI:10.1080/00224499.2015.1061633 · 2.70 Impact Factor
    • "Prior research on both men and women has provided inconsistent results regarding the relationship between acknowledgment of victimization and negative outcomes. In terms of CSA acknowledgment , most studies of men have shown higher rates of negative outcomes associated with acknowledged CSA as compared to unacknowledged CSA (e.g., Dolezal & Carballo-Dieguez, 2002; Fondacaro et al., 1999; Stanley et al., 2004), though some studies have found that, compared with men who acknowledge CSA, men who do not acknowledge CSA endorse more risky sexual and drinking behaviors (Fondacaro et al., 1999; Holmes, 2008). For acknowledgment of adult victimization, no research has been done with men, and the findings related to women are highly mixed, with some studies showing increased rates of psychological distress associated with acknowledged rape (e.g., Conoscenti & McNally, 2006; Kahn & Mathie, 2000; Littleton, Axsom, & Grills- Taquechel, 2009), some showing decreased distress with acknowledged rape (e.g., Botta & Pingree, 1997; Clements & Ogle, 2009), This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sexual victimization of boys and men is understudied despite its alarming prevalence and potentially detrimental outcomes. Research suggests that the majority of men who have experienced something that would qualify as child sexual abuse (CSA) or adult rape based on research definitions do not label their experiences as sexual abuse or rape. This study sought to examine men's labeling of their own victimization by examining acknowledgment of CSA and adult rape in a convenience sample of 323 men who completed an online survey. In this sample, 49% of CSA victims and 24% of rape victims used the labels of sexual abuse and rape, respectively. Correlates of CSA acknowledgment included the perpetrator's use of physical force during the incident. Correlates of rape acknowledgment included perpetrator's use of force and a male rather than a female perpetrator. Acknowledged CSA victims reported more distress and higher rates of adult sexual revictimization compared with unacknowledged CSA victims. Unacknowledged rape victims, but not acknowledged rape victims, reported higher rates of distress compared to non-victims. Rape myths and rigid definitions of masculinity are discussed as possible factors contributing to the high rates of unacknowledged sexual victimization in this sample.
    Psychology of Men & Masculinity 07/2014; 15(3):313-323. DOI:10.1037/a0033376 · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    • "Researchers have found that physical abuse has major consequences for children's physical, emotional, and mental health; cognitive skills; educational attainment; and social and behavioral development (English, 1998, for a review). Physically abused children are also at heightened risk of engaging in risk-taking (Bornovalova, Gwadz, Kahler, Aklin, & Lejuez, 2008; Holmes, 2008) and delinquent (Stewart, Livingston, & Dennison, 2008) behaviors. "
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    ABSTRACT: This article examines children and adolescent exposure to violence in various contexts. A systematic review of the literature was conducted to identify the definitions and types of violence reported in studies on victimization using the ecological systems framework. Sources included research studies and/or reports from scholarly journals (n = 140), books (n = 9), conference/workshops (n = 5), and web sources, such as Uniform Crime Reports (n = 23). The findings indicated that research differed in terminologies, conceptual and operational definitions, sample sizes and age group classification for children and adolescents. Further, studies lacked focus on the co-occurrence and inter-relatedness of victimization, and how these factors might affect the outcomes. Many studies employed a cross-sectional design, which limits strong conclusions about the temporal order of victimization experiences and outcomes. Future research efforts need more consistency among researchers in conceptual and operational definitions and the use of more rigorous designs. Increased holistic assessments are critical for effective prevention and intervention strategies for at-risk children and adolescents.
    Journal of Social Service Research 05/2013; 39(3):322-334. DOI:10.1080/01488376.2013.769835 · 0.44 Impact Factor
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