Magazine article USA TODAY

Family Violence Can Lead to Risky Sex. (Teenagers)

Magazine article USA TODAY

Family Violence Can Lead to Risky Sex. (Teenagers)

Article excerpt

Witnessing violence between parents has nearly the same detrimental effect on teenage girls as being a victim of abuse themselves, according to sociologists at Brown University, Providence, R.I. At study of 710 girls ages 14 to 17 who were living in two-parent families found that those who witnessed domestic violence or ware the subject of violence from a parent were at least three times more likely to engage in risky sexual activity than those who did not experience violence in the home.

"The vicarious experience of violence within the family has nearly as profound an effect on the adolescents as if they were the victims," maintains Gregory Elliott, associate professor of sociology. "Parents who say, "We don't hit our kids, but we smack each other around' still harm their kids."

However, those with the highest rates of risky sexual behavior in the study were still the teenagers who were physically abused themselves. Those who were abused, but did not witness violence between their parents, were six times more likely to engage in risky sex than do teenagers from families not plagued by violence. …

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