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The Effect of Early Maltreatment, Victimization and Partner Violence on HIV Risk Behavior Among Homeless Young Adults

April 19, 2011

The authors sought to "examine the relationship between child maltreatment, physical and sexual victimization, and partner violence victimization with [HIV] risk behaviors among a sample of homeless young adults from the midwestern United States."


Using data from the Homeless Young Adult Project, investigators interviewed 199 people ages 19-26 over 14 months, employing a systematic sampling strategy. The final sample included 172 young adults who were homeless or had a history of running away and being homeless.

Path analysis results showed that sexual abuse is directly linked with street sexual victimization, which was positively associated with a greater number of HIV risk behaviors. "Experiencing more types of physical abuse and neglect were positively correlated with partner violence victimization, which was, in turn, associated with more HIV risk behaviors," results showed. Youths who reported more types of neglect also experienced more forms of sexual and physical victimization.

Noting the implications for service providers, the investigators concluded, "Clinicians who serve homeless youth should recognize the potential effect that experiencing a variety of forms of victimization may have on health risk behaviors."

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Excerpted from:
Journal of Adolescent Health
12.2010; Lisa A. Melander, PhD; Kimberly A. Tyler, PhD

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