Article

History of Sexual Abuse and Development of Sexual Risk Behavior in Low-Income, Urban African American Girls Seeking Mental Health Treatment

a Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences , Stanford University School of Medicine , Stanford , California , USA.
Women & Health (Impact Factor: 1.05). 05/2013; 53(4):384-404. DOI: 10.1080/03630242.2013.790337
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Objective:
This study examined relationships between sexual abuse and patterns of sexual risk-taking among low-income, urban African American adolescent girls seeking mental health treatment.

Method:
Participants (N = 158) were 12- to 16-year-old African American girls recruited from outpatient mental health clinics serving urban, mostly low-socioeconomic status communities in Chicago, Illinois and followed for two years between 2003 and 2010. This study included self-reports of sexual abuse and four waves (T2-T5) of self-reported data on sexual experience and sexual risk-taking (number of partners, inconsistent condom use, and sex with a risky partner). Latent curve modeling was used to examine patterns of sexual behavior over the four time points with sexual abuse and mental health symptoms as covariates.

Results:
Sexual abuse was significantly associated with T2 sexual experience, T2-T4 number of partners, T3 inconsistent condom use, and T2-T3 having a risky partner. These relationships decreased when mental health symptoms were controlled.

Conclusions:
This longitudinal study revealed a complex relationship between sexual abuse and sexual risk that would be missed if sexual risk were assessed at a single time point. Findings supported early intervention to delay onset of sexual risk behavior among low-income African American girls with mental health concerns and histories of sexual abuse.

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