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Prevalence, Characteristics, and Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse in a Southwestern American Indian Tribe

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 21 Issue: 8 Dated: August 1997 Pages: 769-787
Robert W. Robin; Barbara Chester; Jolene K. Rasmussen; James M. Jaranson; David Goldman
Date Published
August 1997
19 pages
Data from a sample of 582 Southwestern American Indian tribal members formed the basis of an analysis of the prevalence and characteristics of child sexual abuse in this community and to determine whether persons with histories of child sexual abuse are at greater risk than others for psychiatric disorders and behavioral problems.
The research recruited the participants for a genetic and linkage study on alcoholism and psychiatric disorders in three large and interrelated pedigrees. The research recruited participants from the community without knowledge of their clinical histories or those of their relatives. A semi-structured psychiatric interview assessed child sexual abuse and psychiatric disorders. Forty-nine percent of the females and 14 percent of the males had been sexually abused as children. Family members accounted for 78 percent of the reported child sexual abuse. Sexually abused males and females were more likely to report childhood and adult behavioral problems than were nonabused participants. A strong relationship existed between multiple psychiatric disorders and child sexual abuse, with sexually abused males and females more likely than were nonabused participants to be diagnosed with three or ore psychiatric disorders, both including and excluding alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse. Findings indicated that child sexual abuse in this population is both an index of family dysfunction and community disorganization and a predictor of later behavioral patterns and psychopathology. Tables, appended table, and 82 references (Author abstract modified)