The effects of early sexual abuse on adult risky sexual behaviors among persons with severe mental illness.
OBJECTIVE: There were two aims: first, to examine the relationship between prior sexual abuse and three types of adult risky sexual behaviors [(1) ever traded sex for drugs or money, (2) had unprotected sex in the past 6 months, and (3) frequency of unprotected sex in the past 6 months] among persons with severe mental illness (SMI), and second, to examine the potential mediating effects of adult rape, substance use, and PTSD. METHOD: Using a pooled sample of individuals with SMI (N=609), logistic and negative binomial regression analyses were used to investigate the impact of prior sexual abuse on these adult risky sexual behaviors. RESULTS: Childhood sexual abuse was associated with having ever traded sex for money and having engaged in unprotected sex in the past 6 months. However, childhood sexual abuse was inversely associated with the number of times males had unprotected sex in the past 6 months. Results differed between males and females and the impact of potential mediators also varied by gender and type of outcome studied. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest a complex link between childhood sexual abuse and adult risky sexual behaviors in persons with SMI. Clinical assessments of child abuse sequelae should include a variety of indicators and parameters of adult risky sexual behavior, as persons with SMI are at an increased risk of engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors and tend to have a higher exposure to childhood sexual abuse than does the general population.
Van Dorn, RA; Mustillo, S; Elbogen, EB; Dorsey, S; Swanson, JW; Swartz, MS
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