Numerous research studies document the negative mental health outcomes associated with the experience of childhood sexual abuse. In addition, factors such as one's relationship with the perpetrator and the severity of the abuse predict the likelihood of future mental health problems. Less attention, however, has focused on the age of the perpetrator, and recent years have seen an increased interest in children who display sexual behavior problems. College students completed measures of mental health functioning and retrospective reports of maltreatment histories. Participants were categorized as abused by an adult (n = 48), teenager (n = 39), or another child (n = 37), and non-abused (n = 219). Victims of abuse, regardless of perpetrator age, displayed higher levels of mental health problems than non-abused participants. There were no differences between the abused groups on any of the mental health outcomes; however, individuals who were abused by other children were less likely to label their experiences as abuse.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Applied Psychology