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ERIC Number: EJ926635
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0145-2134
Self-Defining as Sexually Abused and Adult Sexual Risk Behavior: Results from a Cross-Sectional Survey of Women Attending an STD Clinic
Senn, Theresa E.; Carey, Michael P.; Coury-Doniger, Patricia
Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal, v35 n5 p353-362 May 2011
Objective: Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is associated with increased sexual risk behavior in adulthood, and this association may be mediated by traumagenic dynamics constructs (i.e., traumatic sexualization, trust, guilt, and powerlessness). However, few studies have investigated whether such relationships hold for women who do not identify as having experienced CSA despite meeting objective criteria that CSA occurred. This study sought to determine whether individuals who met research criteria for CSA and who self-defined as sexually abused differed on traumagenic dynamics constructs and current sexual risk behavior from individuals who met research criteria for CSA and who did not self-define as sexually abused. Methods: Participants were 481 women recruited from a publicly funded STD clinic. Participants completed a computerized survey assessing childhood sexual experiences and adult sexual risk behavior. Results: Of the total sample, 206 (43%) met research criteria for CSA. Of the women meeting research criteria for CSA, 142 (69%) self-defined as sexually abused. Women who met research criteria for CSA reported more traumatic sexualization, more trust of a partner, more powerlessness, less sexual guilt, more episodes of unprotected sex, more sex partners, and greater likelihood of sex trading, compared to women who did not meet research criteria for CSA. Among women meeting research criteria, those who self-defined as sexually abused did not differ from those who did not self-define on any of the traumagenic dynamics constructs or on current sexual risk behavior, controlling for CSA characteristics. Conclusions: Individuals who were sexually abused as children by behavioral research criteria are at risk for engaging in sexual risk behavior as adults, regardless of whether or not they perceive the experience to be CSA. Future research is needed to understand how non-definers perceive these childhood sexual experiences. (Contains 5 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A