A comparison of Hispanic and African-American sexually abused girls and their families

Jon A. Shaw, John E. Lewis, Andrea Loeb, James Rosado, Rosemarie A. Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Objective: To study the differential effects of sexual abuse on Hispanic (HN) and African-American (AA) girls. Method: Sexually abused girls and their caretakers (N=159), of which 52% (n=82) were AA (mean age 9.8 years, SD=3.4, R=6-17) and 48% (n=77) were HN (mean age 10.1 years, SD=3.8, R=6-18), were included in the study. The mother/caretaker was administered a demographic form, the Achenbach's Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), and the Family Assessment Measure (FAM-P). The child completed the FAM-C and the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC). The clinician completed the Parental Reaction to Incest Disclosure Scale (PRIDS). Results: HN girls were found to have a greater number of sexually abusive episodes and waited longer to disclose their abuse while AA girls were more likely to have experienced vaginal penetration. The perpetrators of HN girls were older and more likely to be fathers or stepfathers. The mothers/caretakers of HN girls perceived their children as having significantly more aggressive behavior, anxiety/depression, somatic complaints, internalizing and externalizing behaviors, and had a higher total score on the CBCL than did AA girls. The HN girls were more likely to see their family as dysfunctional with confusion regarding family values and rules. HN mothers/caretakers perceived their families as more conflicted regarding adaptability and family controls. Conclusions: HN girls experienced more emotional and behavioral problems, and both HN girls and their mothers/caretakers perceived their families as more disturbed and dysfunctional.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1363-1379
Number of pages17
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2001


  • African-American girls
  • Children
  • Hispanic girls
  • Sexual abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law
  • Education
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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