The relationship of sexual abuse and HIV risk behaviors among heterosexual adult female STD patients

Nancy J. Thompson, Jennifer Sharpe Potter, Catherine A. Sanderson, Edward W. Maibach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Some effects of sexual abuse, for example, heightened sexual activity, are also risk factors for infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Moreover, Social Cognitive theory suggests that the reduced self- esteem and increased sexual arousal that can result from abuse might alter self-efficacy for performing a behavior and expected outcomes of the behavior, making adoption of preventive behavior more difficult. Studies in the general population, adolescents, and male clients of sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics, have found associations between childhood sexual abuse and HIV risk behaviors. This study was designed to measure: (a) whether the association persists among female STD clinic clients; and (b) whether sexual abuse is associated with self-efficacy for condom use or condom use outcome expectations. Among the 83 female STD clinic clients studied, those sexually abused before age 18 had more sexual partners (p < .05), more positive hedonic outcome expectations for condom use (p < .01), and fewer positive partner related outcome expectations for condom use (p < .05) than those never forced to have sex against their will. In summary, HIV risk behavior among female STD clients varies with childhood sexual abuse and Social Cognitive Theory suggests future directions for prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-156
Number of pages8
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • HIV
  • Sexual abuse
  • Social cognitive theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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