An observational study of Internet behaviours for adolescent females following sexual abuse

Jennie G. Noll, Ann Christin Haag, Chad E. Shenk, Michelle F. Wright, Jaclyn E. Barnes, Mojtaba Kohram, Matteo Malgaroli, David J. Foley, Michal Kouril, George A. Bonanno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Child sexual abuse (CSA) is associated with revictimization and sexual risk-taking behaviours. The Internet has increased the opportunities for teens to access sexually explicit imagery and has provided new avenues for victimization and exploitation. Online URL activity and offline psychosocial factors were assessed for 460 females aged 12–16 (CSA = 156; comparisons = 304) with sexual behaviours and Internet-initiated victimization assessed 2 years later. Females who experienced CSA did not use more pornography than comparisons but were at increased odds of being cyberbullied (odds ratio = 2.84, 95% confidence interval = 1.67–4.81). These females were also more likely to be represented in a high-risk latent profile characterized by heightened URL activity coupled with problematic psychosocial factors, which showed increased odds of being cyberbullied, receiving online sexual solicitations and heightened sexual activity. While Internet activity alone may not confer risk, results indicate a subset of teens who have experienced CSA for whom both online and offline factors contribute to problematic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Human Behaviour
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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