Sexual Violence Perpetration as a Risk Factor for Current Depression or Posttraumatic Symptoms in Adolescents

Amy L. Meadows, Ann L. Coker, Heather M. Bush, Emily R. Clear, Ginny Sprang, Candace J. Brancato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sexual violence perpetration (SVP), including coerced, physically forced, and alcohol- or drug-facilitated unwanted sex, occurs frequently in adolescence and may represent a risk factor for future perpetration. Sexual violence victimization (SVV) has been found to be a risk factor for increased rates of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); however, the associations of SVP with depression or posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) have been less well described. This study examined associations between symptoms of depression and PTSS with SVP in the prior 12 months among high school students. In this cross-sectional analysis, a representative sample of public high school students (ninth–12th grades) completed self-reported surveys on peer SVP and SVV within the past year. Among 16,784 students completing surveys, 7.2% disclosed SVP against another high school student in the past 12 months; 64.4% of students disclosing SVP also experienced SVV. Both SVP and SVV, alone or in combination, were associated with a greater likelihood of symptoms of depression or PTSS. These associations were similar by sex and sexual minority status (e.g., lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer [LGBTQ+]). These findings highlight the need for continued primary prevention efforts. Additional screening to recognize adolescent SVP can allow both early treatment of depression and PTSD and address the individual risks of SVP to reduce subsequent repeated sexual assaults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-171
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume37
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Research was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement U01CE001675 and National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Child Health and Development (R01HD075783). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had a supervisory role in the design and conduct of the study but had no direct role in the collection, management, analysis, or interpretation of the data; the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, Identifier: NCT01878097 (https://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT01878097).

Funding Information:
The author(s) declared the following potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Dr. Meadows reports research funding from Kentucky Children’s Hospital–Children’s Miracle Network. Dr. Coker reports research funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Bush, Ms. Clear, Dr. Sprang, and Ms. Brancato report no biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest.

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Research was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement U01CE001675 and National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Child Health and Development (R01HD075783). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had a supervisory role in the design and conduct of the study but had no direct role in the collection, management, analysis, or interpretation of the data; the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, Identifier: NCT01878097 ( https://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT01878097 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

Keywords

  • adolescents
  • depression
  • perpetration
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • sexual assault
  • sexual violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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