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Childhood Victimization and Subsequent Risk for Promiscuity, Prostitution, and Teenage Pregnancy: A Prospective Study

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1996
6 pages
This study examined the extent to which being abused and/or neglected in childhood increases a person's risk for promiscuity, prostitution, and teenage pregnancy.
A prospective cohorts design was used to match -- on the basis of age, race, sex, and social class -- cases of abused and/or neglected children from 1967 to 1971 with nonabused and nonneglected children; subjects were followed into young adulthood. From 1989 to 1995, 1,196 subjects (676 abused and/or neglected and 520 control subjects) were located and interviewed. Findings show that early childhood abuse and/or neglect was a significant predictor of prostitution for females (odds ratio = 2.96). For females, sexual abuse (odds ratio = 2.54) and neglect (odds ratio = 2.58) were associated with prostitution; whereas, physical abuse was only marginally associated. Childhood abuse and neglect were not associated with increased risk for promiscuity or teenage pregnancy. These findings strongly support a relationship between childhood victimization and subsequent prostitution. The presumed causal sequence between childhood victimization and teenage pregnancy may need to be re-evaluated. 56 footnotes

Date Published: January 1, 1996