Youth with problematic sexualized behaviors in the child welfare system: A one-year longitudinal study

William N. Friedrich, Amy J.L. Baker, Rob Parker, Mel Schneiderman, Len Gries, Marc Archer

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34 Citations (Scopus)


This study assessed continuity of problematic sexualized behaviors (PSB) over a 1-year period. Ninety-seven 10-12-year-olds in either foster boarding homes or a residential treatment center participated at Time 1. Twelve months later, 78 youth were available for a second data collection assessment. At both data collection phases, researchers interviewed foster parents or primary therapists about the youths' sexual behavior. Findings revealed significant continuity in PSB over time, with children who at Time 1 exhibited PSB significantly more likely to exhibit PSB at Time 2. The reverse was also true in that the absence of PSB at Time 1 was associated with the absence of PSB at Time 2. In addition, a subset of specific PSB behaviors was noted to be most stable, although this varied across the groups. Youth with PSB exhibited several patterns of persistence in specific behaviors over time, including continuity, a mix of continuity and change, and complete discontinuity. The persistence of PSB over time was most true for the children living in a residential treatment center, the more disturbed group studied. We conclude that the persistence of PSB is more likely when the child has other problematic behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-406
Number of pages16
JournalSexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2005


  • Child welfare
  • Sexual behavior


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