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Medical News

Childhood Abuse and Neglect and the Risk of STDs in Early Adulthood

April 13, 2011

"Given the threat posed by STDs in young adulthood, identifying early predictors of STD risk is a priority. Exposure to childhood maltreatment has been linked to sexual risk behaviors, but its association with STDs is unclear," the authors of the current study explained.


In response, the team examined the associations between maltreatment by parents or other adult caregivers during childhood and adolescence and STD outcomes in young adulthood using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. A total of 8,922 respondents to study Waves 1, 3, and 4 were assessed using four maltreatment types (sexual abuse, physical abuse, supervision neglect, and physical neglect) and two STD outcomes (self-reported recent and test-identified current STD). Moderators and mediators were tested for using multivariate logistic regression analyses stratified by sex.

A positive association with sexual abuse (odds ratio, 1.8), physical abuse (1.7), physical neglect (2.1) and supervision neglect (1.6) was shown among females who self-reported a recent STD, even after adjusting for socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. Furthermore, a positive association between physical neglect and having a test-identified STD remained significant after additional adjustments for exposure to other types of maltreatment and sexual risk behaviors (1.8). Among males, the solely observed association (observed only in an unadjusted model) was between physical neglect and test-identified STD (1.6).

"Young women who experienced physical neglect as children are at increased risk of test-identified STDs in young adulthood, and exposure to any type of maltreatment is associated with an elevated likelihood of self-reported STDs. Further research is needed to understand the behavioral mechanisms and sexual network characteristics that underlie these associations," the investigators concluded.

Back to other news for April 2011

Adapted from:
Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health
03.01.2011; Vol. 43; No. 1: doi:10.1363/4301611; Abigail A. Haydon, Jon. M. Hussey, Carolyn Tucker Halpern

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Sexual Abuse of Children and HIV

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