This study examined the gender differences in outcomes related to school performance, suicidal involvement disordered eating behaviors, sexual risk taking, substance use, and delinquent behaviors of male (n = 370) and female teenagers (n = 2,681) who self reported a history of sexual abuse. It was found that female adolescents, by and large, engaged in internalizing behaviors and males in externalizing behaviors. Male adolescents were found to be at higher risk than females in poor school performance, delinquent activities, and sexual risk taking. Female adolescents, on the other hand, showed higher risk for suicidal ideation and behavior as well as disordered eating. Females showed more frequent use of alcohol. However, male adolescents exhibited more extreme use of alcohol and more frequent and extreme use of marijuana. Among index female adolescents, protective factors against adverse correlates included a higher emotional attachment to family, being religious or spiritual, presence of both parents at home, and a perception of overall health. Factors that augmented adverse correlates for them included a stressful school environment due to perceived high levels of substance use in and around school, worry of sexual abuse, maternal alcohol consumption, and physical abuse. For male adolescents, maternal education and parental concern appeared to be protective factors.
- Sexual abuse