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The Relationship of Childhood Sexual Abuse to Teenage Pregnancy

Running Head: RESEARCH ARTICLE REVIEW Research Article Review The Relationship of Childhood Sexual Abuse to Teenage Pregnancy Ashlee L. Glover Lindenwood University The Relationship of Childhood Sexual Abuse to Teenage Pregnancy I. Questions and Answers 1. “The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy” (Roosa, Tein, Reinholtz, & Angelini, 1997). 2. “Three research questions guided this effort.
First, do women who were sexually abused as children and women who had teenage pregnancy have similar developmental backgrounds (sociodemographic and risk factor profiles)? Second, does the risk for teenage pregnancy differ, based on whether a woman was sexually abused as a child, sexually precocious, or both? Third, does childhood sexual abuse contribute to an increased risk of having a teenage pregnancy after the influence of other factors related to teenage pregnancy (e. g. , social class) have been accounted for” (Roosa et al. 1997)? 3. “We expect victims of sexual abuse to have first voluntary coitus earlier, to be less likely to use contraception, to be more likely to participate in high-risk sexual behaviors (e. g. , sex with strangers), and to have a higher number of sexual partners than their peers who were not sexually abused” (Roosa et al. , 1997). 4. The variables being studied is sexual history, High-risk sexual behavior, Sexual abuse, Sexual history pathways, childhood physical abuse, and High-risk behaviors. Roosa et al. , 1997). 5. The participants were 2,003 women, 18 to 22 years old, living in Arizona. (Roosa et al. , 1997). 6. “Participants completed the questionnaire alone or in groups. They recorded their responses on computer-scored answer sheets to ease data entry and minimize errors. After completing the questionnaire, a participant placed her answer sheet in an envelope, sealed the envelope, and gave it to either the project manager or agency representative” (Roosa et al. , 1997). 7. We used chi-square and analysis of variance to compare sociodemographic and risk factor profiles of (a) women who were sexually abused as children with their non-abused peers and (b) women who had teenage pregnancy with those who did not. Next, we compared the incidence of teenage pregnancy for five sexual history pathways using chi-square. Finally, we used logistic regression to determine whether experiences of childhood sexual abuse contributed to risk for teenage pregnancy after the influences of other variables had been accounted for” (Roosa et al. 1997). 8. “The results of our study do not support arguments that sexual abuse is a major contributor to the risk for teenage pregnancy” (Roosa et al. , 1997). 9. The importance of the findings is that childhood sexual abuse contributed little to the likelihood of teenage pregnancy. The severity of sexual abuse was not significantly related to teenage pregnancy. Sexual abuse followed by sexual precocity was related to a higher risk of teenage pregnancy for some. (Roosa et al. , 1997). 10. The results were limited by two methodological factors. First, the sample, although large, was a sample of convenience from a single state, and participants were slightly more educated than the average for this cohort. Second, this was a cross-sectional study that relied on the recall of events that occurred several necessary years prior to the survey” (Roosa et al. , 1997). 11. “It may be important for future studies to identify factors that explain the risk associated with sexual abuse for these subgroups” (Roosa et al. , 1997). It was also stated that in the future longitudinal studies are necessary to establish causality. Roosa et al. , 1997). II. Summary The United States has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy with about 25 percent of all U. S. women having a pregnancy by the age of 18 (Roosa et al. , 1997). The purpose of this study was to determine if childhood sexual abuse is a factor associated with an increased risk for teenage pregnancies (Roosa et al. , 1997). Recent studies have reported that sexual abuse is more common among pregnant teenagers than in general population and therefore could possibly be a major contributor to teenage pregnancy.
Many mechanisms have been proposed to explain the linkage between childhood sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy. Roosa et al. , (1997) outlined several mechanisms including (a) some teenage pregnancies may be the direct result of sexual abuse, (b) childhood sexual abuse may socialize female victims to believe that their purpose in life is to fulfill the sexual needs of others, (c) the lowered self-esteem of sexual abuse victims may make them more vulnerable to males’ sexual advances, and (d) victims of incest may plan pregnancies as a means of escaping from their victimization.

Three research questions guided this effort: First, do women who were sexually abused as children and women who had teenage pregnancy have similar developmental backgrounds (sociodemographic and risk factor profiles)? Second, does the risk for teenage pregnancy differ, based on whether a woman was sexually abused as a child, sexually precocious, or both? And for those who experienced both abuse and precocity, does the relative timing of these events make a difference in risk for teenage pregnancy?
Third, does childhood sexual abuse contribute to an increased risk of having a teenage pregnancy after the influence of other factors related to teenage pregnancy (e. g. , social class) have been accounted for? (Roosa et al. , 1997) The variables being studied are sexual history, high-risk sexual behavior, sexual abuse, sexual history pathways, childhood physical abuse, and high-risk behaviors. Sexual history was assessed by asking about the respondent’s age of menarche, first coital experience, use of birth control, and pregnancy (Roosa et al. 1997). Any pregnancy occurring before age 18 was labeled a teenage pregnancy. High risk sexual behavior was described as anyone who had sex for alcohol, drugs, or money; having sex with strangers, having multiple sex partners, and not using birth control (Roosa et al. , 1997). Roosa et al. , (1997) used five mutually sexual history pathways to examine the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy: One pathway represented those who reported no precocious sexual activity and no sexual abuse before the age of 18.
A second pathway represented women who were sexually abused before age 18 with no precocious sexual activity. A third pathway represented those who had been abused before their first precocious sexual experience. A fourth pathway represented those who had been abused before age 18 but after their first precocious sexual experience. A fifth pathway represented participants who had not experienced any sexual abuse before the age of 18 but who were sexually precocious. The last measures used were childhood physical abuse.
Eight questions dealing with pking and hitting adapted from the Conflict Tactics Scale (Roosa et al. , 1997). Participants were 2,003 women, 18 to 22 years old, living in Arizona (Roosa et al. , 1997). Participation was limited to this age range to reduce reporting bias due to widely varying time intervals since sexual history events occurred (Roosa et al. , 1997). The women were recruited at 44 sites in urban and rural areas throughout Arizona (Roosa eta l. , 1997). Participants completed the questionnaire alone or in groups, with assistance from the project manager (Roosa et al. 1997). They recorded their responses on computer-scored answer sheets to ease data entry and minimize error (Roosa et al. , 1997). To analyze the results chi-square and analysis of variance were used to compare sociodemographic and risk factor profiles of (a) women who were sexually abused as children with their non-abused peers and (b) women who had a teenage pregnancy with those who did not (Roosa et al. , 1997). Next, they compared the incidence of teenage pregnancy for five sexual history pathways using chi-square (Roosa et al. , 1997).
Finally, they used logistic regression to determine whether experiences of childhood sexual abuse contributed to the risk for teenage pregnancy after the influences of other variables had been accounted for (Roosa et al. , 1997). Using data from 2,003 women this study took three approaches to examine the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and the likelihood of teenage pregnancy. The results of the study did not support the argument that sexual abuse is a major contributor to the risk for teenage pregnancy (Roosa et al. , 1997).
Childhood sexual abuse contributed little to the likelihood of teenage pregnancy in this sample (Roosa et al. , 1997). According to Roosa et al. , (1997), it may be important for future studies to identify factors that explain the risk associated with sexual abuse of different subgroups. Regardless of the strengths of associations found or the number of factors statically controlled, it cannot be determined which relationships may be casual and which may be spurious (Roosa et al. , 1997). Longitudinal studies are necessary to establish causality.

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