Author(s): Johnson RJ, Rew L, Kouzekanani K, Johnson RJ, Rew L, Kouzekanani K
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Abstract Most of what we know about sexual abuse comes from efforts to examine female children victimized by men. Although some researchers have identified similarities between male and female victims of sexual abuse, few studies have examined gender-specific factors associated with sexual health practices among homeless adolescents. The aim of this study was to explore how gender and history of sexual abuse influence cognitive-perceptual and behavioral factors associated with sexual health practices of homeless adolescents. This study was a secondary analysis of data collected for a cross-sectional study of the sexual health practices of homeless adolescents. The sample consisted of 414 youths (104 males who reported sexual abuse and 124 who did not; and 95 females who reported sexual abuse and 75 who did not; 16 did not provide these data). Homeless adolescent females with a history of sexual abuse scored higher (indicating a shorter perspective) on a measure of future time perspective than females with no sexual abuse. Males who reported no sexual abuse scored higher than abused females on perceived health status and higher than abused males on assertive communication. With respect to perceived health status, males who reported no sexual abuse scored significantly higher than females who reported sexual abuse (p = .04). Males with no sexual abuse had significantly higher assertive communication scores than did males who had experienced sexual abuse (p = .015). We found that male and female abuse victims differ in terms of their cognitive-perceptual and behavioral factors associated with sexual health practices. Early identification of those who have been abused is critical so that interventions can be developed. Effective short-term interventions are needed for the adolescent victims of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), particularly those who are homeless and prone to further sexual victimization.
This article was published in Adolescence
and referenced in Tropical Medicine & Surgery