Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 621–631 | Cite as

Persistent and Transitory Sexualized Behavior Problems in Children

  • K. Ensink
  • N. Godbout
  • N. Bigras
  • J. Lampron
  • S. Sabourin
  • L. Normandin
Original Article


The aim of this longitudinal study was to examine the course of sexualized behavior problems (SBP) over 2 years in a sample comprised of 104 children aged 2–12, including 62 children with histories of child sexual abuse (CSA). Parents completed questionnaires assessing SBP, internalizing and externalizing difficulties at baseline, as well as 2 years later. In more than half (56.7%) of children with clinically significant SBP at baseline, sexualized behaviors persisted and remained at a clinically significant level over time. In children with CSA, 48.4% presented persistent SBP, 27.4% presented transitory SBP, while 19.4% did not present clinically significant SBP at either time. CSA increased the relative risk of persistent SBP 3.29 times, and for each one-unit increase in scores of externalizing difficulties, the odds of persistent SBP increased by 21%. The findings suggest that SBP consequent to CSA, especially when it co-occurs with externalizing difficulties, is likely to remain at levels warranting clinical intervention.


Sexual behavior problems Childhood sexual abuse Risk factors Internalized behaviors Externalized behaviors 



The funding was provided by Fonds de Recherche du Québec-Société et Culture.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.École de psychologieUniversité LavalQuebecCanada
  2. 2.Département de sexologieUniversité de Québec à MontrealMontrealCanada

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