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Childhood Maltreatment Histories, Alcohol and Other Drug Use Symptoms, and Sexual Risk Behavior in a Treatment Sample of Adolescents

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.

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Excerpted from:
American Journal of Public Health
05.2012; Vol. 102; No. S2: P. S250-S257; Assaf Oshri, PhD; and others

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