June 8, 2012
The authors tested a structural model of relations among self-reported childhood maltreatment, sexual risk behavior, and alcohol and other drug abuse and dependence symptoms in a sample of adolescents receiving outpatient substance abuse treatment.
An ethnically diverse sample of 394 adolescents (114 girls, 280 boys; mean age=16.3; SD=1.15 years; 44.9 percent Hispanic, 20.6 percent African-American, 25.4 percent white non-Hispanic, and 9.1 percent other) in two outpatient treatment settings were given structured interviews.
"Path analyses yielded findings consistent with a mediation model," the team reported. "Alcohol abuse and dependence symptoms mediated (1) relations between emotional neglect scores and sex with co-occurring alcohol use and (2) relations between sexual abuse scores and sex with a co-occurring alcohol use. Drug abuse and dependence symptoms mediated relations between (1) neglect scores and (2) sexual intercourse with co-occurring alcohol or drug use, as well as unprotected sexual intercourse."
"Efforts to treat alcohol or drug use problems among adolescents or to prevent transmission of HIV or other [STDs] among youths with substance use problems may require tailoring treatment or prevention protocols to address client histories of maltreatment," the authors concluded.