This prospective, longitudinal study examined a sample of sexually abused and comparison girls to determine (a) whether there were patterns of behavior that differed between the groups and (b) whether nonverbal behaviors assessed at the initial visit (n = 147; M = 11.11 years; SD = 3.02) might predict sexual attitudes and behaviors at a later point in development (n = 144; M = 18.52 years; SD = 3.52). At the initial assessment, nonverbal behaviors during an interaction with an unknown male interviewer were factor analyzed revealing 3 factors: wary (e.g., pouting), affiliative (e.g., chin resting on hand), and coy (e.g., tongue show). Abused girls scored higher on the coy factor that was related to earlier age at first voluntary intercourse later in development (approximately 7 years later). High scores on the affiliative factor were related to higher sexual permissiveness and less negative attitudes toward sex. Results indicate that sexually abused girls showed early maladaptive patterns in interpersonal interactions, which were subsequently related to risky sexual attitudes and behaviors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology