Sociology, Department of


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Publisehd in JOURNAL OF RESEARCH ON ADOLESCENCE, 11(2), 151–176 Copyright © 2001, Society for Research on Adolescence. Used by permission.


Path analysis was used to investigate the impact of childhood sexual abuse on later sexual victimization among 372 homeless and runaway youth in Seattle. Young people were interviewed directly on the streets and in shelters by outreach workers in youth service agencies. High rates of both childhood sexual abuse and street sexual victimization were reported, with females experiencing much greater rates compared with their male counterparts. Early sexual abuse in the home increased the likelihood of later sexual victimization on the streets indirectly by increasing the amount of time at risk, deviant peer affiliations, participating in deviant subsistence strategies, and engaging in survival sex. These findings suggest that exposure to dysfunctional and disorganized homes place youth on trajectories for early independence. Subsequently, street life and participation in high-risk behaviors increases their probability of sexual victimization.

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