Sexual abuse in lesbian and bisexual young women: Associations with emotional/behavioral difficulties, feelings about sexuality, and the “coming out” process

Jennifer S. Robohm, Brian W. Litzenberger, Laurie Anne Pearlman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

We examined associations between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and emotional/behavioral difficulties, feelings about one's sexuality, and the “coming out” process in a sample of 227 lesbian and bisexual women, ages 18-23, recruited for an online questionnaire study. Participants with a CSA history (“experiencers”) reported significantly more emotional/behavioral difficulties than their nonexperiencer counterparts, suggesting that CSA may be an important contributor to some problems and behaviors currently linked in the literature to sexual orientation. Lesbian and bisexual experiencers varied widely as to whether and how they felt a CSA history affected their feelings about their sexuality or their “coming out” process. We discuss the implications of these findings for counseling, research, and theorizing involving lesbian and bisexual young women.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTrauma, Stress, and Resilience Among Sexual Minority Women
Subtitle of host publicationRising Like the Phoenix
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages31-47
Number of pages17
Volume7
Edition4
ISBN (Print)9780203728468
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

Keywords

  • Bisexual
  • Emotional/behavioral difficulties
  • Lesbian
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexuality
  • “Coming out” process

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