Early Sexual Activity Linked to Abuse and Neglect

Jim Liebelt

Children who are neglected or physically or psychologically abused are more likely to have sex at an early age, and sexually active adolescents should be evaluated for possible maltreatment, a new study found.
At 14 years of age, adolescents with a history of maltreatment other than sexual abuse were 2.15 times more likely to report having had sexual intercourse than teens with no maltreatment history, according to a study published online Aug. 10 in Pediatrics.

The study found that 16-year-olds who had suffered physical or psychological abuse or neglect were 2.03 times more likely to have had sex.

"Although there is previous evidence that maltreatment other than sexual abuse predicts engagement in sexual activity and sexual risk behavior, our study is one of the first to use a prospective methodology to demonstrate that other forms of maltreatment increase the likelihood of sexual intercourse by 14 and 16 years of age in a high-risk sample," Maureen M. Black, PhD, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and colleagues wrote.

Source: Medpage Today