A study of the sexual abuse of adolescents and their subsequent behavior
Johnson, Paul G.
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The study was designed to ascertain the long-term effects of sexual abuse on adolescents. There was at least a three-year interval between the diagnosis of sexual abuse and the follow-up study.;The type of design chosen employed a nonequivalent comparison group model. One-hundred and twenty females were interviewed. Sixty of the adolescents had a diagnosis of sexual abuse, and 60 did not. The adolescent females ranged in age from 13 to 21 years of age, with a mean age of 17.25 years. Sixty-nine (57.5%) were Hispanic, 41 (34.2%) were Afro-American, and 10 (8.3%) were Caucasian. The adolescents resided in the same locality, and had similar socio-economic status and other comparable variables, such as age, gender, borough of residence, family income, family structure.;The study revealed that the incident of sexual abuse resulted in the following negative outcomes for these young women: fewer close friends; more verbal altercations with their parent or parents; multiple sexual partners; engaging in sexual activity at an early age; not using birth control, therefore engaging in unprotected sex and therefore increasing their chances of becoming pregnant; increasing the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and AIDS; running away; thoughts of depression, death, suicide; and lower self-esteem.;Most of the abusers were male teenagers. Twenty-three (38.3%) adolescents stated they were sexually abused by a male teenager. As for the age at which they were sexually abused, 27 incidents were reported when the adolescents were between the ages of five and 10. Regarding what happened to the adolescent perpetrator, the young women reported that there were no repercussions.;These findings provide further evidence that the incident of sexual abuse leads to numerous negative long-term consequences for its victims and that the majority of incidents are committed by adolescent males. The study also discusses the implications of these findings, and recommendations are made as to how one could attempt to prevent child sexual abuse and what more can be done to help those victims of child sexual abuse.