Gender differences in the consequences of a coercive sexual experience among adolescents attending alternative schools

Ruth S. Buzi, Susan R. Tortolero, Robert E. Roberts, Michael W. Ross, Christine M. Markham, Melissa Fleschler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Of 490 middle and high school students attending alternative schools who participated in this study, 18.2% of females and 6.7% of males reported a past unwanted sexual experience. Relative to nonabused subjects, female and male adolescents who reported a forced sexual experience were more likely to exhibit externalizing problems such as sexual risk behaviors and internalizing problems such as depression and suicidal thoughts in the past two weeks. Females with a history of a coercive sexual experience also had increased odds of drug and alcohol use, and violence-related behaviors. The magnitude of these associations ranged from a twofold increase to a tenfold increase. Controlling for ethnicity, family income, and family support had less impact on the strength of associations between a forced sexual experience and sexual risk behaviors for females than for males. A forced sexual experience remained significantly associated with depression for females and suicidal thoughts for males. Alcohol use in the past 30 days was the only substance use-related problem that remained significant for females. Violence-related behaviors did not remain significant in the presence of control variables for females. Interventions focusing on adolescents with a history of a coercive sexual experience in general, and in alternative schools in particular, are suggested by these results. More research focusing on the differential impact of a coercive sexual experience on males and females is crucial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of School Health
Volume73
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2003

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