A longitudinal perspective on boys as victims of childhood sexual abuse in South Africa: Consequences for adult mental health

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Abstract

Childhood sexual abuse of boys was examined in a longitudinal cohort in South Africa, with data on abuse collected at six age points between 11 and 18 years. Potential personal and social vulnerability of male sexual abuse victims was explored and mental health outcomes of sexually abused boys were examined at age 22–23 years. Reports of all sexual activity – touching, oral and penetrative sex – increased with age and sexual coercion decreased with age. Almost all sexual activity at 11 years of age was coerced, with the highest rates of coercion occurring between 13 and14 years of age; 45% of reports of coerced touching were reported at age 14, 41 percent of coerced oral sex at age 13, and 31% of coerced penetrative sex at age 14. Sexual coercion was perpetrated most frequently by similar aged peers, and although gender of the assailant was less often reported, it can be presumed that perpetration is by males. Boys who experienced childhood sexual abuse tended to be smaller (shorter) and from poorer families. No relationships to measured childhood intelligence, pubertal stage, marital status of mother or presence of the father were found. There was no significant association between reports of childhood sexual abuse and mental health in adulthood and when personal and social vulnerabilities were taken into account.

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APA

Richter, L. M., Mathews, S., Nonterah, E., & Masilela, L. A. (2018). A longitudinal perspective on boys as victims of childhood sexual abuse in South Africa: Consequences for adult mental health. Child Abuse and Neglect, 84, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.07.016

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