Characteristics of childhood sexual abuse in a predominantly mexican-american population

Rebecca L. Huston, Juan M. Parra, Thomas J. Prihoda, D. Michael Foulds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Little has been written about the characteristics of childhood sexual abuse among Mexican Americans. In addition, certain aspects of the epidemiology of reported sexual abuse in the United States have changed significantly over the past 12 years. To better understand how characteristics of sexual abuse vary with ethnicity, race, gender, and age, we reviewed the records of 2,130 children under age 18 who were evaluated at our university-based facilities for possible sexual abuse from 1987 to 1989. The demographic, historical, and physical findings of the cases from our predominantly Mexican-American population were analyzed. T-test, analysis of variance, and chi-square analyses were used to test for differences related to ethnicity, race, gender, and age. Significant differences in these factors were found with respect to the relationship of the perpetrator to the child, the number of perpetrators, the interval from the abuse to the evaluation, the types of abuse, and the findings of the physical examination. This study demonstrates the important influences of ethnicity, race, gender, and age on characteristics of childhood sexual abuse. Awareness of these influences can be helpful in understanding factors that contribute to childhood sexual abuse, preparing for legal proceedings, and designing appropriate prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-176
Number of pages12
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1995


  • Epidemiology
  • Mexican American
  • Sexual abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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