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Children who were sexually abused were more disturbed than their peers after 5 years

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Question What are the 5 year outcomes (behaviour, depression, self esteem, anxiety, eating problems, drug use, suicide attempts, self injury, running away, criminal activity, and attributional style) in children who have been sexually abused compared with children who have not been sexually abused?


Cohort study within a case control study.


Sydney, Australia.


84 children who had been sexually abused (74% girls) were evaluated at the Child Protection Unit of 2 hospitals from 1988–90. They were 5–15 years old, lived in the metropolitan area, and had experienced some form of abusive sexual contact with either physical evidence or a clear and consistent description of events that the hospital staff deemed confirmatory. Exclusion criteria were consensual sexual activity between peers and developmental delay. Control children were matched for age and sex and chosen at random from area schools. Follow up was …

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  • Source of funding: National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

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