Le vécu de mauvais traitements et l'implication dans les comportements sexuels à risque à l'adolescence

Authors: Thibodeau, Marie-Ève
Advisor: Lavoie, Francine
Abstract: In the last decades, numerous studies have shown that child maltreatment increase involvement in sexual risk behaviors. However, some gaps have been identified in these studies, such as their focus on a single form of maltreatment and the lack of attention for mechanisms by which exposure to child maltreatment fosters sexual risk behaviors. The purpose of this thesis is thus to deepen our understanding of the association between forms of child maltreatment and involvement in sexual risk behaviors among adolescents. In order to achieve this goal, the subsample of sexually active adolescents 17 years and under from the Quebec Youths’ Romantic Relationships survey was used (N = 1 940; 61% girls; Mage: 15 years). In the first study, independent, unique, cumulative, and interactive effects of four forms of child maltreatment (i.e., sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, and witnessing interparental violence) on sexual risk behaviors have been investigated. Six sexual risk behaviors have been examined: number of sexual partners, casual sexual behavior, sex exchange, age at first consensual intercourse, inconsistent condom use, and sexually transmitted infection diagnosis. Regressions not controlling for other forms of child maltreatment (independent effects), showed that all maltreatment forms were associated with having a higher number of sexual partners, casual sexual behavior, sex exchange, and a younger age at first intercourse. Regressions controlling for the four forms of maltreatment (unique effects) showed that sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, and witnessing interparental violence remained statistically associated depending on the sexual risk behavior. A greater number of forms of maltreatment was associated with more sexual risk behaviors (cumulative effects). Moreover, when sexual abuse was experienced, neglect was no longer associated with a higher number of sexual partners (interactive effects). Finally, associations between maltreatment and sexual risk behaviors were similar between genders. In the second study, the mediating roles of anxious attachment and avoidant attachment in the association between child maltreatment and sexual risk behaviors were explored. Results supported anxious attachment as a mediator between neglect and a higher number of sexual partners, and avoidant attachment as a mediator between neglect and a higher number of sexual partners, involvement in casual sexual behavior and a younger age at first intercourse (boys only). Results showed a direct effect of sexual abuse on all three sexual risk behaviors; attachment not having a mediating role. In summary, this thesis adds to existing knowledge of the influence of child maltreatment on sexual risk behaviors during adolescence. More specifically, it highlights the specificity of the association between some forms of child maltreatment and their associated sexual risk behaviors, and thus the importance of controlling for all forms of child maltreatment that may have been experienced when studying sexual risk behaviors. It also underlines the particular influence of sexual abuse on all sexual risk behaviors investigated. Finally, it supports attachment as a valuable target for intervention to prevent sexual risk behaviors during adolescence. Research and practice implications are addressed.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2018
Open Access Date: 24 April 2018
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/28351
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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