Sexual Victimization Among a National Probability Sample of Adolescent Women

Published in: Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, v. 36, no. 6, Nov./Dec. 2004, p. 225-232

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2004

by Ramesh Raghavan, Laura M. Bogart, Marc N. Elliott, Katherine D. Vestal, Mark A. Schuster

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CONTEXT: Forced sexual intercourse is becoming more salient for adolescent women nationwide, but little is known about sexual revictimization and its mediators among adolescents in middle and high school. METHODS: Data on 7,545 adolescent women who participated in both Wave 1 (April-December 1995) and Wave 2 (1996) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were used in logistic regression analyses to identify predictors of completed forced sexual intercourse, estimate prevalence of sexual revictimization and determine mediators of the relationship between history of forced sex and sexual revictimization. RESULTS: At Wave 1, 7% of adolescent women reported having been forced into sexual intercourse. Of these, 8% were revictimized in the following year. In multivariate analyses, predictors of sexual victimization by Wave 1 included having been in a romantic relationship in the past 18 months (odds ratio, 2.1), having been exposed to violence in the past year (1.9), alcohol use in the last year (1.7), marijuana use in the last 30 days (1.5) and increasing levels of emotional distress (1.4). Predictors of sexual victimization between waves included having had sex by the first wave (2.3), alcohol use (2.0), recent cocaine use (4.7), rising levels of emotional distress (1.4) and genital touching within romantic relationships (2.7). CONCLUSIONS: Health care providers, teachers and school counselors can play key roles in identifying adolescent women at high risk for sexual victimization and revictimization by being attuned to adolescentsb2s mental health symptoms, substance use and levels of sexual activity.

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