Year: 2013 Source: Child Abuse and Neglect.(2011).35(9):680-687. SIEC No: 20130302

Objective The current study was designed to explore the prevalence of child sexual abuse (CSA) and its association with health risk behaviors (i.e., smoking, alcohol use, binge drinking, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempt) among rural children and adolescents in China. Methods A sample of 683 rural children and adolescents (8 to 18 years of age) completed an anonymous questionnaire which assessed experiences of CSA and 5 health risk behaviors. Data on several potential confounding factors were also collected. Results A total of 123 (18%) respondents reported experiencing at least 1 kind of CSA before 16 years of age, with more boys reporting CSA than girls (21.5% vs. 14.2%). In addition, attending non-boarding schools, lower levels of self-esteem, and higher levels of perceived peer pressure for engagement in health risk behaviors were associated with higher rates of CSA. Multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed that CSA experience was significantly associated with cigarette smoking (aOR = 2.14), binge drinking (aOR = 2.68), suicidal ideation (aOR = 1.69), and suicide attempt (aOR = 2.69) after controlling for several demographic and psychological factors. Conclusion More attention should be paid to the issues of CSA among rural children and adolescents in China. Effective CSA prevention intervention needs to address the vulnerabilities of the population, increase children’s and parents’ awareness of CSA and ability of self-protection.

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