Prevalence and associated mental health outcomes of child sexual abuse in youth in France: Observations from a convenience sample
Fiche mise à jour le 9 septembre 2021
Jude Mary Cénat,
Anne Valéry Mazoyer,
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is an important public health problem associated with an array of negative consequences. Although prevalence rates are well established from North America, few studies have focused on the extent of CSA and associated outcomes in youth from France.
This study aimed to: 1) estimate the prevalence of CSA, 2) assess the associations between CSA and health outcomes while exploring possible gender specificities and 3) document the contribution of revictimization on symptom complexity.
The sample involved 2309 participants aged between 14 and 23 years old (M = 19.55). Measures assessing CSA, other forms of child maltreatment and mental health problems were administered. Sexual revictimization and a host of protective factors (resilience, coping strategies, parental support) were also assessed.
CSA was reported by 13.1% of girls and 4.2% of boys. Regression analyses revealed that CSA was associated with all mental health outcomes except alcohol and drug use (other than cannabis) after controlling for sociodemographics and other forms of child maltreatment. Sexual revictimization was associated with symptom complexity. Emotion-centered and avoidance coping predicted symptom complexity while resilience and paternal support acted as protective factors.
The study relied on a cross-sectional design with a convenience sample, which limits the generalizability of results. The small number of boys reporting CSA precludes drawing firm conclusions as to the gender specificities in the outcomes associated with CSA.
Findings underscore the relevance of developing efficient prevention programs as CSA is linked to a host of negative outcomes.Mots clés SantéPsy :