Experience of sexual abuse in childhood and abortion in adolescence and early adulthood
David M Fergusson; L John Horwood; Michael T Lynskey
Objective: The present study examined the associations between the experience of sexual abuse in childhood (CSA) and the number of abortions in adolescence and early adulthood. Method: A 25-year prospective longitudinal study of the health, development, and adjustment of a birth cohort of 1,265 New Zealand children (630 females). Measures included assessments of experience of CSA using retrospective data gathered at ages 18 and 21, self-reported abortions from ages 15 to 25, measures of childhood socio-economic disadvantage, family stability, family functioning, experience of childhood physical abuse, and pregnancy in adolescence and early adulthood. Results: Severity of CSA experience was significantly (p < .01) associated with an increasing rate of abortions during ages 15-25. Adjustment of the association for potentially confounding factors from childhood reduced the magnitude of the association, but it remained marginally statistically significant (p < .10). However, controlling for the mediating effects of pregnancy risk in adolescence and early adulthood reduced the association between experience of CSA and abortion to statistical non-significance (p > .70). Conclusions: The current study suggested that the association between experience of CSA and increased rates of abortion was mediated by the increased rates of pregnancy associated with CSA experiences. The results suggest a causal chain in which experience of CSA leads to increased rates of pregnancy, which in turn leads to increased rates of abortion.
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Rights Statement: This version in OUR Archive is the author's manuscript accepted for publication after peer-review. The published version is: Boden, J. M., Fergusson, D. M., & Horwood, L. J. (2009). Experience of sexual abuse in childhood and abortion in adolescence and early adulthood. Child Abuse & Neglect, 33, 870-876. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2009.04.006 This OUR Archive version is licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Keywords: Family Studies; Psychology; Social Work
Research Type: Journal Article