Objective. To identify adverse behavioral and psychological factors associated with forced sex experiences of adolescent girls compared with their sexually active counterparts.
Method. An anonymous self-report survey examining an array of psychosocial items, to which 3124 grade 8 and grade 10 female students responded.
Results. Sexually abused girls were more likely to have been pregnant, to have initiated sexual intercourse at a younger age, to indicate illegal drug use, to have feelings of depression, to express more frequent suicidal ideation, and to have been physically abused.
Conclusions. Behaviors such as gateway drug use, truancy, binge drinking of alcohol, and participation in violent episodes that were previously identified as indicators of sexual abuse did not distinguish between sexually active adolescents and those who had been sexually abused. Physicians should consider carefully a structured series of questions relating to behaviors as one approach in determining the risk of sexual abuse. Positive responses to young sexual initiation, pregnancy, illegal drug use, negative mental health states, and evidence of physical abuse are potential markers of sexual abuse in adolescent female clients.
- Received November 28, 1994.
- Accepted January 13, 1995.
- Copyright © 1995 by the American Academy of Pediatrics