Sex and Aggression: The Relationship Between Gender and Abuse Experience in Youngsters Referred to Residential Treatment

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Child Abuse; Child Abuse, Sexual; Violence; Aggression; Sex Factors


Child Psychology | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


We examined the relationship of gender and different forms of abuse experience on internalizing symptoms, externalizing symptoms, and IQ in a sample of 397 youngsters who were admitted to a residential treatment program. Three types of abuse experience were examined in this study: sexual abuse only, physical abuse only, and both sexual and physical abuse. Results indicate that girls exhibited higher levels of internalizing and externalizing symptoms even though abuse experience was accounted for in the analyses. Moreover, youngsters who had experienced sexual abuse (but not physical abuse) exhibited higher levels of internalizing and externalizing symptoms than youngsters who had not been abused. Implications for developing individualized interventions based on gender and abuse experience in residential treatment programs is discussed.


Citation: Doerfler, L. A., Toscano, P. F., & Connor, D. F. (2009). Sex and aggression: The relationship between gender and abuse experience in youngsters referred to residential treatment. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 18(1):112-122. DOI 10.1007/s10826-008-9212-3