The influence of running away on the risk of female sexual assault in the subsequent year

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Thrane, Lisa E.
Yoder, Kevin A.
Chen, Xiaojin

Thrane, L.E., K.A. Yoder, and X. Chen. 2011. "The Influence of Running Away on the Risk of Female Sexual Assault in the Subsequent Year". VIOLENCE AND VICTIMS. 26 (6): 816-829.


This study explores the sexual risk trajectories of female youths and sheds light on the long-term effects of running away. It evaluates whether running away increases the risk of sexual assault in the following year, which is after runaways return home. The sample consists of 5,387 heterosexual females between the ages of 11 and 18 years from the Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Nearly one quarter (23%) of runaways report a previous sexual assault in contrast to 5% of nonrunaways. In a logistic regression model, childhood neglect increases the risk of sexual assault between Waves 1 and 2 by nearly two times. Poor mental health is statistically significant. Alcohol use doubles the odds of sexual assault. The risk of sexual assault is approximately three-fold for girls with a history of sexual onset and sexual touching in a romantic relationship. Running away increases the risk by nearly two and a half times. There is evidence that alcohol use and sexual onset partially mediates the relationship between running away and sexual assault.

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