Cross-Gender Behavior and Gender Conflict in Sexually Abused Girls

CLARE E. COSENTINO, HEINO F.L. MEYER-BAHLBURG, JUDITH L. ALPERT, RICHARD GAINES

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study contrasted a group of sexually abused girls, aged 6 to 12 years, with two demographically comparable control groups, girls from a child psychiatry outpatient clinic, and girls from a general pediatric clinic, to determine whether differences in gender role behavior and identity could be demonstrated. All girls underwent an evaluation protocol that included a semistructured interview for children, the Gender Role Assessment Schedule–Child (GRAS-C). The mothers were administered several questionnaires including two parent-report measures of gender-related behavior in their children, the Child Game Participation Questionnaire (CGPQ) and the Child Behavior and Attitude Questionnaire–Female version (CBAQ-F). Sexually abused girls manifested significantly more cross-gender behavior on the GRAS-C (in the areas of gender role preference and aggression) and gender identity conflict than did nonabused girls in both comparison groups. For the sexually abused and psychiatric control groups, their parents reported greater involvement in traditionally masculine games on the CGPQ, but on the CBAQ-F, no significant group differences were found. Findings suggest that sexual abuse in preadolescent girls is associated with cross-gender behavior and gender conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)940-947
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume32
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1993

Keywords

  • child sexual abuse
  • gender conflict
  • gender role behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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