Early-married and sexually abused girls differ in their psychiatric outcomes
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CitationSoylu, N., Ayaz, M., Yüksel, T. (2014). Early-married and sexually abused girls differ in their psychiatric outcomes. Child Abuse & Neglect. 38.9, 1552-1559.
Early marriage and sexual abuse are the two of the most frequent types of childhood abuse. Although early marriage is also a type of sexual abuse, it is associated with different physical, social, and mental outcomes than sexual abuse alone. The purpose of this study was to compare early-married girls and sexually abused girls who were referred for forensic evaluation in Turkey in terms of their sociodemographic characteristics, mental disorder rates, and mental symptom severity. We included 63 adolescent girls for whom a judicial report had been demanded and who were under 15 years old when they were married but were not yet 18 years old during the evaluation (15.51 ± 0.78) and 72 sexually abused adolescent girls between 14 and 18 years old (15.80 ± 1.10) in this study. Following a psychiatric evaluation, the study participants completed the Child Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Reaction Index (CPTS-RI) and the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). We used the Windows SPSS 16.0 software program to assess the results. At least one psychiatric disorder was determined in 44.4% of the early-married and 77.8% of the sexually abused cases (p < 0.001). A diagnosis of PTSD or ASD was observed in 11.1% of the early-married cases and in 54.2% of the sexually abused victims (p < 0.001). MDD was determined in 33.3% of the early-married cases and 56.9% of the sexually abused cases (p = 0.006). The CPTS-RI scores of the sexually abused victims were higher than those of the early-married cases (p < 0.001). All of the subscale scores of the BSI were higher in the sexually abused adolescents than in the early-married cases (p < 0.001). Although early marriage has severe physical, social and mental outcomes, it is not as severe as sexual abuse in terms of psychiatric disorder rates and the psychiatric symptom severity it causes.