Children with Sexual Behavior Problems: Clinical Characteristics and Relationship to Child Maltreatment

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Research examining children with sexual behavior problems (SBP) almost exclusively relies on caregiver reports. The current study, involving a sample of 1112 children drawn from a prospective study, utilizes child self-reports and teacher reports, as well caregiver-reports. First, analyses examined children displaying any SBP; a second set of analyses specifically examined children displaying interpersonal forms of SBP. Caregivers reported greater internalizing, externalizing, and social problems for children with general SBP and/or interpersonal SBP when compared to children without SBP. Caregiver concerns were rarely corroborated by teacher and child reports. Protective services records indicated that SBP was linked to childhood sexual abuse, but sexual abuse occurred in the minority of these cases. Physical abuse was more common among children with interpersonal forms of SBP. The data in the current study suggest the need for multiple reporters when assessing children presenting with SBP and that conventional views of these children may be misleading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-199
Number of pages11
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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