Childhood maltreatment, psychological dysregulation, and risky sexual behaviors in female adolescents

Jennie G. Noll, Katherine J. Haralson, Erica M. Butler, Chad Edward Shenk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

ObjectiveMaltreated female adolescents are at risk for engaging in sexual behaviors consistent with HIV infection and teen pregnancy. The current study applied a model positing the key role of psychological dysregulation in the development of adolescent females' sexual behavior.MethodsThe sample consisted of adolescent females aged 14-17 years who had experienced substantiated childhood maltreatment (n=275) and a demographically matched, non-maltreated comparison group (n=210).ResultsMultiple mediator analysis revealed that, when in company with a host of plausible mechanisms, sexual preoccupation mediated the relationship between psychological dysregulation and risky sexual behaviors.ConclusionMaltreated females may have difficulty regulating emotions, cognitions, and behaviors, which, when coupled with a propensity to entertain sexual thoughts and consume sexually explicit materials, may increase the likelihood that they act on sexual impulses and engage in high-risk sexual behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-752
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Volume36
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011

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Sexual Behavior
Psychology
Adolescent Development
Pregnancy in Adolescence
Risk-Taking
Cognition
HIV Infections
Emotions

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

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Childhood maltreatment, psychological dysregulation, and risky sexual behaviors in female adolescents. / Noll, Jennie G.; Haralson, Katherine J.; Butler, Erica M.; Shenk, Chad Edward.

In: Journal of pediatric psychology, Vol. 36, No. 7, 01.08.2011, p. 743-752.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - ObjectiveMaltreated female adolescents are at risk for engaging in sexual behaviors consistent with HIV infection and teen pregnancy. The current study applied a model positing the key role of psychological dysregulation in the development of adolescent females' sexual behavior.MethodsThe sample consisted of adolescent females aged 14-17 years who had experienced substantiated childhood maltreatment (n=275) and a demographically matched, non-maltreated comparison group (n=210).ResultsMultiple mediator analysis revealed that, when in company with a host of plausible mechanisms, sexual preoccupation mediated the relationship between psychological dysregulation and risky sexual behaviors.ConclusionMaltreated females may have difficulty regulating emotions, cognitions, and behaviors, which, when coupled with a propensity to entertain sexual thoughts and consume sexually explicit materials, may increase the likelihood that they act on sexual impulses and engage in high-risk sexual behaviors.

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