Sexual force at sexual debut. Swedish adolescents with disabilities at higher risk than adolescents without disabilities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aims of this study are first to compare the incidence of force on the first occasion of sexual intercourse reported by participants with disabilities to that of students without disabilities; second to determine whether there are significant differences in mental health, substance abuse, and school performance as reported by participants forced into their sexual debut as opposed to those who were not forced, analysed by gender; and finally to identify the significant variables that predict girls reporting force at sexual debut as opposed to girls not reporting force, as well as to identify similar variables within the male group. There were no data on sexual abuse prior to the first occasion of full sexual intercourse. Method: This cross-sectional study is based on 2 surveys: Life and Health Young People 2005 and 2007. All 17/18-year-old adolescents in upper-secondary schools in a county in Sweden were asked the same questions both years. A total of 2,254 students completed the survey in 2005 and 2,641 in 2007. Results: The main finding is that force at sexual debut (intercourse) is more common among adolescents with a disability (4.0%) than those not reporting any disability (1.6%), and is most common among those reporting multiple disabilities (10.4%). This was found both for girls and boys, even if the rates for girls were several times higher. Other findings are that girls and boys reporting force at sexual debut (disability and non-disability groups taken together) reported different profiles. For girls, their country of origin and who they live with are significant. This background data is not significant for boys. Boys report a strong psychosomatic reaction. Conclusion: Culture-, functionality-, and gender-sensitive studies of adolescents' reactions to sexual abuse are needed to help determine relevant and effective interventions (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Sociology


  • Adolescents, sexual abuse, sexual debut, intercourse, disability, gender, Sweden
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-295
JournalInternational Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch