This study examined the relationships of sexual, physical and emotional abuse to emotional (internalizing) and behavioral (externalizing) problems among incarcerated girls and boys. Participants were youth who were remanded to the correctional facilities within a statewide juvenile correctional system in a southern state in the United States of America. Each participant completed a structured interview regarding abuse history, emotional and behavioral difficulties, and demographic characteristics. Multiple regression analyses indicated that girls were more likely than boys to internalize their problems. The only abuse variable that was positively and significantly associated with emotional problems was emotional abuse. Greater behavioral problems were significantly related to youths being younger in age, white ethnicity, history of sexual abuse, and history of physical abuse. There were overall gender differences for internalizing problems, but not for externalizing problems among incarcerated adolescents. Furthermore, physical and sexual abuses were related to externalizing problems but not to internalizing problems. Thus, different types of abuse appear to have different effects on adolescent behavior. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.
View details for PubMedID 16221621