Prevalence and correlates of sexual abuse reported by late adolescent school children in Sri Lanka.
UNLABELLED: Despite emerging evidence that child sexual abuse (CSA) is a significant health problem in Sri Lanka, few studies have been undertaken to understand the scope and associated factors of CSA. OBJECTIVE: To identify the prevalence of and psycho-behavioral and demographic factors related to CSA among late adolescents. STUDY GROUP: A representative sample of late adolescent school children in Southern Sri Lanka. METHODS: A regional sample of 2,389 students was surveyed using a self-report anonymous questionnaire. Of the participants, 54% were female and 98% were 18 years of age. RESULTS: About 14% of both male and female students reported having been subjected to some form of CSA. Students with middle or upper socioeconomic status, not living with parents, and studying science and mathematics were more likely than others to report having been sexual abused during childhood. The odds of CSA among males were significantly higher among those who had low self-esteem, those who reported any use of alcohol, and those who reported family conflict. The odds of CSA among females were significantly higher among those who had suicidal ideation, those who reported any use of alcohol, and those who reported family conflict. CONCLUSIONS: Sexual abuse of children is an important public health issue in Sri Lanka. Causal relations between CSA and related psycho-behavioral risk factors investigated in this study should be further investigated using longitudinal and qualitative studies.
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