This study examined the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and depression among a large sample of male and female incarcerated delinquents.
Research has demonstrated that childhood sexual abuse is related to the risk of many short and long-term harmful consequences. The most common psychological symptom experienced by survivors of childhood sexual abuse is depression. This study examined whether sexual abuse was related to higher levels of psychological distress among incarcerated youth and if the effects were invariant across gender. Data for this study consisted of a subset of data from the National Evaluation of Juvenile Correctional Facilities study, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. Data were collected during site visits conducted by researchers to institutions between 1996 and 1997. A total of 48 institutions participated. A survey was administered with a total of 588 juveniles completing the survey. The findings confirmed previous research and indicate the negative influence of childhood sexual abuse on depression. The results indicate that overall depression is higher among females than males. The results underscore the important relationship between sexual abuse and depression among institutionalized delinquents. References