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Predisposing factors in childhood masturbation in Turkey


The aim of this prospective, referral-based study was to assess demographical and developmental features associated with childhood masturbation in Turkey. A total of 61 children with childhood masturbation who were referred for the first time to the Department of Child Psychiatry were examined from demographical, psychosocial and medical aspects and compared with two control groups consisting of 61 age and gender matched children who were brought to the paediatric outpatient clinics and 43 children and adolescents who were the biological siblings of the study group. In children with masturbation, sleep difficulties were more frequent (P < 0.001) and breast-feeding was shorter than in controls (P < 0.05). The onset of masturbation was often associated with a genito-urinary disorder or a stressful life event like weaning, the birth of a sibling, or separation from the parents.

Conclusion This is the first controlled study investigating the clinical and the developmental features of childhood masturbation. These findings may help identify children who could be at risk for this condition.

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Received: 14 June 1999 and in revised form: 25 October 1999 / Accepted: 5 November 1999

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Unal, F. Predisposing factors in childhood masturbation in Turkey. Eur J Pediatr 159, 338–342 (2000).

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  • Key words Masturbation
  • Child
  • Risk factors