• Childhood Maltreatment, Emotional Distress, and Early Adolescent Sexual Intercourse: Multi-Informant Perspectives on Parental Monitoring

      Oberlander, S.E.; Wang, Y.; Thompson, R.; Lewis, T.; Proctor, L.J.; Isbell, P.; English, D.J.; Dubowitz, H.; Litrownik, A.J.; Black, M.M. (American Psychological Association, 2011)
      This prospective investigation used multi-informant models to examine whether parental monitoring moderated associations between child maltreatment and either emotional distress or sexual intercourse. Data included 637 youth in the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN). Child maltreatment was determined by lifetime Child Protective Service records and youth self-report and included sexual, physical, psychological abuse, and neglect (age 12). The moderating variable was youth- and caregiver-reported parental monitoring (age 12). Outcome variables were emotional distress (age 12) and sexual intercourse (age 14). Analyses included multi- and individual-informant models, adjusting for age, ethnicity/race, family income, and study site. Rates of parental monitoring did not differ by gender, but gender-specific analyses found that among girls, but not boys, youth-reported parental monitoring buffered the effect of maltreatment on emotional distress. Subtype analyses found that the buffering effects of monitoring on emotional distress were strongest for sexual and physical abuse and when youth experienced multiple subtypes of maltreatment. Caregiver-reported monitoring was not associated with reduced emotional distress. Youth and caregiver reports of parental monitoring were inversely associated with sexual intercourse, regardless of maltreatment history. Findings suggest that promoting parental monitoring among caregivers, and perceptions of monitoring among youth, may prevent early sexual intercourse regardless of maltreatment history. Promoting parental monitoring among youth with a history of maltreatment, especially girls or those who have experienced sexual or physical abuse or multiple subtypes of abuse, may reduce the likelihood of emotional distress. Copyright 2011 American Psychological Association.
    • Sexual intercourse among adolescents maltreated before age 12: A prospective investigation

      Black, M.M.; Oberlander, S.E.; Lewis, T.; Knight, E.D.; Zolotor, A.J.; Litrownik, A.J.; Thompson, R.; Dubowitz, H.; English, D.E. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009)
      OBJECTIVE: To examine whether child maltreatment (physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and neglect) predicts adolescent sexual intercourse; whether associations between maltreatment and sexual intercourse are explained by children's emotional distress, and whether relations among maltreatment, emotional distress, and sexual intercourse differ according to gender. METHODS: The Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect was a multisite, longitudinal investigation. Participants ranged from at-risk to substantiated maltreatment. Maltreatment history was assessed through Child Protective Service records and youth self-report at age 12. Youth reported emotional distress by using the Trauma Symptom Checklist at the age of 12 years and sexual intercourse at ages 14 and 16. Logistic and multiple regressions, adjusting for gender, race, and site, were used to test whether maltreatment predicts sexual intercourse, the explanatory effects of emotional distress, and gender differences. RESULTS: At ages 14 and 16, maltreatment rates were 79% and 81%, respectively, and sexual initiation rates were 21% and 51%. Maltreatment (all types) significantly predicted sexual intercourse. Maltreated youth reported significantly more emotional distress than non-maltreated youth; emotional distress mediated the relationship between maltreatment and intercourse by 14, but not 16. At 14, boys reported higher rates of sexual intercourse than girls and the association between physical abuse and sexual intercourse was not significant for boys. CONCLUSIONS: Maltreatment (regardless of type) predicts sexual intercourse by 14 and 16. Emotional distress explains the relationship by 14. By 16, other factors likely contribute to intercourse. Maltreated children are at risk for early initiation of sexual intercourse and sexually active adolescents should be evaluated for possible maltreatment. Copyright 2009 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.