Methods: We conducted secondary data analysis ofrom Waves I and II of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, a nationally representative sample of adolescents in the United States. The analytic sample was comprised of 146 adolescents ages 11-17 who identified as boys (n = 94) and girls (n = 52) with self-reported experiences of CSE—measured as exchanging sex for money or substances as a minor. We conducted descriptive and bivariate analyses examining differences between boys and girls’ demographic characteristics, substance use, depression scores, and delinquency, among other risk factors identified in the literature.
Results: The majority of adolescents identified as white (60%) and Black (35%) with a mean age of about 15 years old. Almost half of adolescents (47.9%) self-reported using at least one type of substance, including alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine. The difference between boys (M = .94, SD = 1.12) and girls’ (M = .77, SD = 1.35) substance use was not statistically significant (z = 1.75, p = 0.08). However, the mean depression score among girls (M = 1.49, SD = .68) was higher than boys (M = 1.22, SD = .43), and that difference was significant: t(137) = -2.86, p < 0.01. There was a slightly higher average of delinquency behaviors among boys (M = 1.30, SD = 1.90) than girls (M = 1.04, SD = 1.84), however, that difference was not statistically significant (z = 1.34, p = 0.18).
Conclusions and Implications: These preliminary findings underscore the need to further examine differences in demographic characteristics and behaviors between boys and girls with CSE experiences. Ongoing research on this front could signal the need for targeted and specialized treatment and prevention interventions that account for the holistic and potentially gender-specific behavioral health needs of youth who have or who are at-risk of experiencing CSE.