Early Sexual Abuse, Street Adversity, and Drug Use among Female Homeless and Runaway Adolescents in the Midwest

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73 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Research on homeless and runaway adolescents has shown that this population is at high risk for illicit drug use. Though sexual abuse has been widely considered in the etiology of illicit drug use, we know less about how early sexual abuse affects young people's decisions to run away, to use drugs, and to engage in other deviant behavior on the streets. Based on interviews with 361 female homeless and runaway adolescents in four midwestern states, the current study revealed a high prevalence of drug use, especially use of cocaine among youths with sexual abuse histories. Path analyses showed that early sexual abuse indirectly affected drug use on the streets via running away at an earlier age, spending more time on the street, and use of deviant strategies to survive (e.g., affiliation with deviant peers, trading sex, and use of nonsexual deviant subsistence strategies).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Drug Issues
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

Fingerprint

Homeless Youth
Sex Offenses
Street Drugs
sexual violence
drug use
adolescent
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Cocaine
deviant behavior
etiology
Interviews
Research
Population
interview

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

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abstract = "Research on homeless and runaway adolescents has shown that this population is at high risk for illicit drug use. Though sexual abuse has been widely considered in the etiology of illicit drug use, we know less about how early sexual abuse affects young people's decisions to run away, to use drugs, and to engage in other deviant behavior on the streets. Based on interviews with 361 female homeless and runaway adolescents in four midwestern states, the current study revealed a high prevalence of drug use, especially use of cocaine among youths with sexual abuse histories. Path analyses showed that early sexual abuse indirectly affected drug use on the streets via running away at an earlier age, spending more time on the street, and use of deviant strategies to survive (e.g., affiliation with deviant peers, trading sex, and use of nonsexual deviant subsistence strategies).",
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