The Association Between Self-Reported Lifetime History of Forced Sexual Intercourse and Recent Health-Risk Behaviors: Findings From the 2003 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey
November 10, 2006
The researchers studied data from the 2003 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey -- a biennial, nationally representative survey of high school students in the United States -- to "expand the understanding of the association between recent health-risk behaviors and a history of forced sexual intercourse."
Factors assessed were lifetime history of forced sex; recent physical dating violence; and health-risk behaviors (substance use, diet-related behaviors, violence-related behaviors and health promoting behaviors). The analyses were stratified by gender and controlled for grade and race/ethnicity.
Among the surveyed students, 8.9 percent reported ever being forced to have sex. Forced sex was reported by one in eight females and by one in 16 males. For both genders, a history of forced sex was associated with experiencing physical dating violence and suicidal ideation in the preceding 12 months and with substance use in the preceding 30 days. Compared with females who were not victims, female victims were less likely to have participated in team sports in the previous 12 months. Compared with males who were not victims, male victims were more likely to have fasted for more than 24 hours to lose weight during the previous 30 days.
"A lifetime history of forced sex is associated with recent dating violence and participation in unhealthy behaviors," the researchers concluded, adding that programs targeting these young people "should address health concerns that have been linked to sexual assault." Such an outreach, they wrote, "would provide opportunities for early intervention with lasting implications for improved health."
Journal of Adolescent Health
Vol. 39; No. 5: P. 752.e1-752.e7, 11.2006; Kathleen C. Basile, Ph.D.; Michele C. Black, Ph.D.; Thomas R. Simon, Ph.D.; Ileana Arias, Ph.D.; Nancy D. Brener, Ph.D.; Linda E. Saltzman, Ph.D.