Pathways Linking Childhood Maltreatment and Adolescent Sexual Risk Behaviors: The Role of Attachment Security

Pathways Linking Childhood Maltreatment and Adolescent Sexual Risk Behaviors: The Role of Attachment Security

Pathways Linking Childhood Maltreatment and Adolescent Sexual Risk Behaviors: The Role of Attachment Security

Pathways Linking Childhood Maltreatment and Adolescent Sexual Risk Behaviors: The Role of Attachment Securitys

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Référence bibliographique [19976]

Journal of Sex Research, vol. 54, no 8, p. 994-1005.

Fiche synthèse

1. Objectifs


Intentions :
«The goal of the present study was to examine the potential mediating role of attachment insecurity in explaining associations between forms of CM [child maltreatment] (i.e., sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, and witnessing interparental violence) and SRBs [sexual risk behaviors] in a large representative sample of high school adolescents.» (p. 996)

Questions/Hypothèses :
«First, we hypothesized that all four forms of CM (sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, and witnessing interparental violence) would be directly associated with a higher number of sexual partners, casual sexual behavior, and younger age at first intercourse (hypothesis 1). Next, we hypothesized that all four forms of CM would be associated with avoidant attachment, which in turn would lead to a higher number of sexual partners (hypothesis 2) […]. Then, we hypothesized that all four forms of CM would be associated with anxious attachment, which in turn would lead to a younger age at first intercourse for girls (hypothesis 3). We also hypothesized that all four forms of CM would be associated with avoidant attachment, which in turn would lead to casual sexual behavior (hypothesis 4).» (p. 996-997)

2. Méthode


Échantillon/Matériau :
«Data for this study were obtained from the Quebec Youths’ Romantic Relationships survey. The sample included 8,194 adolescents enrolled in grades 10 through 12 in the province of Quebec (Canada).» (p. 997)

Type de traitement des données :
Analyse statistique

3. Résumé


Results show that «neglect was directly associated with having a higher number of sexual partners in our subsample of sexually active adolescents […]. The association was explained by avoidant attachment, a finding that was also consistent with our expectations […]. Thus, experiences of neglect during childhood directly affect the way in which children interpret future relationships, resulting in discomfort with closeness and intimacy. Therefore, evading contact and closeness with others is associated with a higher number of sexual partners during adolescence. […] We also found that anxious attachment was a significant mediator of the relationship between neglect and number of sexual partners. This result suggests that victims of neglect may consent to sexual contacts with a greater number of sexual partners to avoid feeling rejected and unloved. […] We also found that boys and girls who report having been neglected in childhood are more likely to engage in sexual intercourse at a younger age. A high level of attachment avoidance, but only for boys, explains this association. Based on our findings, avoidant attachment does not explain the relationship between neglect and a younger age at first intercourse for girls. However, for boys who have been neglected during childhood, discomfort with closeness and intimacy explains their tendency to engage in sexual intercourse at a younger age.» (p. 1000-1001)