Sociology, Department of


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Published in Aggression and Violent Behavior, 7:6 (November-December 2002), pp. 567-589; doi 10.1016/S1359-1789(01)00047-7 Copyright © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. Used by permission.


A total of 41 articles examined the social and emotional outcomes of childhood sexual abuse. The outcomes examined included suicide and substance use, gang involvement, pregnancy, running away, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), risky sexual behavior, and behavioral problems. Results for each of these outcomes tended to vary by developmental period. How¬ever, problems of internalizing and externalizing behavior appeared to be specific to sexually abused children of all age groups. Some studies found differences in outcome according to gender, race, and age. Although findings related to abuse characteristics were found to vary from study to study, severity of the abuse, use of force, and victim’s relationship to the perpe¬trator were found to be especially important. Other factors, such as family support and paren¬tal monitoring, were found to mitigate a negative outcome. Limitations are discussed along with suggestions for future research.

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