Child sexual abuse in Henan province, China: associations with sadness, suicidality, and risk behaviors among adolescent girls 2141

  • Chen J
  • Dunne M
  • Han P
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Purpose: To assess the prevalence of child sexual abuse (CSA) and possible effects on mental health and risky behavior among female adolescents living in China. Method: A retrospective survey was conducted among 351 female students in a medical secondary school in the central China province of Henan in June 2004. The anonymous, self-administered questionnaire included items about unwanted sexual experiences before age 16, depression, suicidality, and risky health-related behaviors. Results: Over one in five young women (21.9%) reported at least one type of CSA (any one of 12 forms of nonphysical contact and physical contact CSA) before the age of 16 years, with one in every seven (14.0%) reporting CSA involving physical contact. Risk of CSA was not associated with parents' education level, existence of siblings, or rural/urban residence during childhood. Although some indicators of poor mental health were slightly elevated among girls who had experienced noncontact CSA only, the most significant impact is among victims of contact CSA, including higher rates of depression, overwhelming sadness, suicidal thinking and planning, alcohol drinking, smoking, fighting, and having sexual intercourse. Conclusions: The risk of CSA in this sample of Chinese female adolescents seems similar to young women in many Western countries, and the pattern of associated mental health and behavioral problems is entirely consistent with international research. �� 2006 Society for Adolescent Medicine

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  • J Chen

  • M P Dunne

  • P Han

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