This longitudinal study examined psychopathology as an explanatory mechanism linking childhood violence exposure (CVE) to sexual risk in 177 African American girls recruited from mental health clinics serving low-income communities in Chicago. Beginning at average age 14, girls completed five interviews over 2 years and a sixth assessment including trauma history. CVE reflected sexual, physical, or witnessed violence before age 12. Latent growth modeling accounted for developmental change across the six time points. Externalizing, but not internalizing, symptoms mediated the pathway from CVE to number of partners (indirect effect = .16, 95 % CIBCBS = .04-.29) and inconsistent condom use (indirect effect = .11, CIBCBS = .004-.21). Externalizing problems associated with CVE may help to explain its relationship with sexual risk in low-income, treatment-seeking African American girls. Behavioral interventions addressing aggression, impulsivity, and general risk-taking may be most effective in reducing sexual risk in this population.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s10578-014-0466-2
View details for Web of Science ID 000351287100010
View details for PubMedID 24801477