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Adolescents' Experiences of sexual abuse - Prevalence, abuse characteristics, disclosure, health and ethical aspects

Priebe, Gisela LU (2009) In Faculty of Medicine Doctoral Dissertation Series 2009:44.
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

SVENSK SAMMANFATTNING

Huvudsyftet med denna avhandling var att undersöka olika aspekter av självrapporterade sexuella övergrepp under barndom och ungdomstid i en befolkningsstudie med svenska gymnasieelever. Ett av målen var att undersöka livstidsprevalensen för olika typer av sexuella övergrepp och olika övergreppsvariabler samt relationen mellan sexuella övergrepp, kön, sociodemografiska variabler och frivilliga sexuella erfarenheter. Ett annat mål var att studera i vilken utsträckning ungdomarna har berättat om övergreppen, vilka mönster som förekommer i samband med berättandet och vilka faktorer som påverkar att ungdomar väljer att inte berätta om övergreppen. Ytterligare ett mål var... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

SVENSK SAMMANFATTNING

Huvudsyftet med denna avhandling var att undersöka olika aspekter av självrapporterade sexuella övergrepp under barndom och ungdomstid i en befolkningsstudie med svenska gymnasieelever. Ett av målen var att undersöka livstidsprevalensen för olika typer av sexuella övergrepp och olika övergreppsvariabler samt relationen mellan sexuella övergrepp, kön, sociodemografiska variabler och frivilliga sexuella erfarenheter. Ett annat mål var att studera i vilken utsträckning ungdomarna har berättat om övergreppen, vilka mönster som förekommer i samband med berättandet och vilka faktorer som påverkar att ungdomar väljer att inte berätta om övergreppen. Ytterligare ett mål var att studera sambanden mellan sexuella övergrepp och olika aspekter av psykosocial hälsa. Ett av instrumenten för mätning av psykosocial hälsa som har använts i studien var Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Ett av avhandlingens mål var att undersöka de psykometriska egenskaperna av instrumentet när det används i åldergruppen 17 till 19 år. Slutligen var en målsättning med avhandlingen att belysa etiska aspekter kring forskning om sexuella övergrepp genom att undersöka särskilt sårbara deltagares upplevelse av att fylla i enkäten.

En skolbaserad undersökningsgrupp bestående av mer än 4000 ungdomar i år 3 på gymnasiet i fem svenska städer fyllde i frågeformuläret ”Ungdomars sexualitet – attityder och erfarenheter”. Samma frågeformulär användes också i flera andra länder inom ramen för The Baltic Sea Regional Study on Adolescents’ Sexuality. Datamaterial från såväl den svenska som den estniska undersökningsgruppen användes vid undersökningen av sårbara deltagares upplevelse av att fylla i enkäten. En delgrupp bestående av med än 1000 deltagare i en av de svenska städerna fyllde i ytterligare frågeformulär (SDQ, KASAM och Jag tycker jag är).

Livstidsprevalensen beräknades för tre olika former av sexuella övergrepp: övergrepp utan fysisk kontakt, övergrepp med fysisk kontakt men utan penetration och penetrerande övergrepp. Penetrerande övergrepp var associerade med de mest allvarliga övergreppsvariablerna. Det var också mindre vanligt att dessa ungdomar berättade om övergreppen och de rapporterade fler emotionella och beteenderelaterade symptom, svagare KASAM och en mer negativ självvärdering vid jämförelse med icke utsatta ungdomar eller ungdomar som hade blivit utsatta för övergrepp utan fysisk kontakt eller övergrepp med fysisk kontakt men utan penetration. I en väsentlig del av övergreppen hade förövaren varit en annan ungdom. Samtidigt nämndes jämnåriga som den vanligaste mottagaren av berättelsen om övergreppet. Få sexuellt utsatta ungdomar hade talat med en professionell vuxen om övergreppen. Instrumentet SDQ hade acceptabel reliabilitet och validitet vid användning i åldergruppen 17 till 19 år. Sense of Coherence var det mätinstrumentet avseende psykosocial hälsa som var starkast relaterad till sexuella övergrepp, även efter kontroll för störfaktorer. Också familjevariabler, i synnerhet band till föräldrarna (parental bonding), var starkt relaterade till olika övergreppsaspekter. En modell för deltagarnas upplevelse av att svara på enkätfrågorna gav inget stöd till tanken att sårbara ungdomar borde skyddas från att delta i forskning om känsliga ämnen som sexualitet och sexuella övergrepp. (Less)
Abstract
ABSTRACT

The purpose of this thesis was to investigate aspects of self-reported sexual abuse during childhood and adolescence in a population-based study of Swedish high school students. The aim of this thesis was first to investigate the lifetime prevalence of sexual abuse of varying severity and characteristics as well as the associations between sexual abuse, gender, socio-demographic characteristics and consensual sexual experiences. The next aim was to investigate disclosure rates and disclosure patterns as well as predictors of non-disclosure. A further aim was to study the associations between sexual abuse and different aspects of psychosocial health. One of the measures of psychosocial health used in the study was the... (More)
ABSTRACT

The purpose of this thesis was to investigate aspects of self-reported sexual abuse during childhood and adolescence in a population-based study of Swedish high school students. The aim of this thesis was first to investigate the lifetime prevalence of sexual abuse of varying severity and characteristics as well as the associations between sexual abuse, gender, socio-demographic characteristics and consensual sexual experiences. The next aim was to investigate disclosure rates and disclosure patterns as well as predictors of non-disclosure. A further aim was to study the associations between sexual abuse and different aspects of psychosocial health. One of the measures of psychosocial health used in the study was the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and a further aim of the thesis was to examine its psychometric properties when used with young people at age 17 – 19 years. Finally, it was an aim of this thesis to highlight ethical aspects of research about sexual abuse by investigating vulnerable participants’ experience with the survey.

A school-based sample of more than 4,000 high school seniors in five Swedish towns completed the questionnaire “Adolescents’ Sexuality – Attitudes and Experiences”. The same questionnaire was completed by young people in six other countries as part of The Baltic Sea Regional Study on Adolescents’ Sexuality. Data from both the Swedish and the Estonian sample were used when vulnerable participants’ experience of the survey were examined. A sub-sample of more than 1,000 participants in one of the Swedish towns completed additional questionnaires (SDQ, Sense of Coherence and I think I am).

Lifetime prevalence rates were shown for three different categories of sexual abuse: non-contact abuse, contact abuse and penetrating abuse. Penetrating abuse was related to more severe abuse characteristics, less frequent disclosure, more emotional and behavioural symptoms, weaker sense of coherence and poorer self-esteem when compared to non-abuse, non-contact or contact abuse. A substantial portion of the sexual abuse was committed by peers. At the same time, peers were the most often mentioned recipients of disclosure of sexual abuse. Few sexually exposed adolescents had talked to a professional. The SDQ had acceptable reliability and validity for use with adolescents at age 17 – 19 years. Sense of Coherence was found to be the measure of psychosocial health that was most clearly associated with sexual abuse, even after adjustment for confounding variables. Family factors, in particular parental bonding, were shown to be strongly related to different aspects of sexual abuse. A model of the participants’ experience with the survey did not support the idea that vulnerable young people should be protected from participation in research about sensitive issues. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Child Health, University College London Bentovim, Arnon, Institute of Child Health, University College London
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Sense of Coherence, Research Ethics, Prevalence, Health, Disclosure, Adolescents, Characteristics of sexual abuse, Sexual abuse
in
Faculty of Medicine Doctoral Dissertation Series
volume
2009:44
pages
202 pages
publisher
Lund University, Faculty of Medicine
defense location
Silviasalen, Annetorpsområdet, Sofiav. 2d, Lund
defense date
2009-05-14 13:00
ISSN
1652-8220
ISBN
978-91-86253-32-5
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
e7157e5a-6d07-474d-9915-52abd4086792 (old id 1389603)
date added to LUP
2009-04-24 12:43:29
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:46
@phdthesis{e7157e5a-6d07-474d-9915-52abd4086792,
  abstract     = {ABSTRACT<br/><br>
The purpose of this thesis was to investigate aspects of self-reported sexual abuse during childhood and adolescence in a population-based study of Swedish high school students. The aim of this thesis was first to investigate the lifetime prevalence of sexual abuse of varying severity and characteristics as well as the associations between sexual abuse, gender, socio-demographic characteristics and consensual sexual experiences. The next aim was to investigate disclosure rates and disclosure patterns as well as predictors of non-disclosure. A further aim was to study the associations between sexual abuse and different aspects of psychosocial health. One of the measures of psychosocial health used in the study was the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and a further aim of the thesis was to examine its psychometric properties when used with young people at age 17 – 19 years. Finally, it was an aim of this thesis to highlight ethical aspects of research about sexual abuse by investigating vulnerable participants’ experience with the survey.<br/><br>
A school-based sample of more than 4,000 high school seniors in five Swedish towns completed the questionnaire “Adolescents’ Sexuality – Attitudes and Experiences”. The same questionnaire was completed by young people in six other countries as part of The Baltic Sea Regional Study on Adolescents’ Sexuality. Data from both the Swedish and the Estonian sample were used when vulnerable participants’ experience of the survey were examined. A sub-sample of more than 1,000 participants in one of the Swedish towns completed additional questionnaires (SDQ, Sense of Coherence and I think I am).<br/><br>
Lifetime prevalence rates were shown for three different categories of sexual abuse: non-contact abuse, contact abuse and penetrating abuse. Penetrating abuse was related to more severe abuse characteristics, less frequent disclosure, more emotional and behavioural symptoms, weaker sense of coherence and poorer self-esteem when compared to non-abuse, non-contact or contact abuse. A substantial portion of the sexual abuse was committed by peers. At the same time, peers were the most often mentioned recipients of disclosure of sexual abuse. Few sexually exposed adolescents had talked to a professional. The SDQ had acceptable reliability and validity for use with adolescents at age 17 – 19 years. Sense of Coherence was found to be the measure of psychosocial health that was most clearly associated with sexual abuse, even after adjustment for confounding variables. Family factors, in particular parental bonding, were shown to be strongly related to different aspects of sexual abuse. A model of the participants’ experience with the survey did not support the idea that vulnerable young people should be protected from participation in research about sensitive issues.},
  author       = {Priebe, Gisela},
  isbn         = {978-91-86253-32-5},
  issn         = {1652-8220},
  keyword      = {Sense of Coherence,Research Ethics,Prevalence,Health,Disclosure,Adolescents,Characteristics of sexual abuse,Sexual abuse},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {202},
  publisher    = {Lund University, Faculty of Medicine},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Faculty of Medicine Doctoral Dissertation Series},
  title        = {Adolescents' Experiences of sexual abuse - Prevalence, abuse characteristics, disclosure, health and ethical aspects},
  volume       = {2009:44},
  year         = {2009},
}