CitationBarnert, Elizabeth S.; Bath, Eraka; Heard-Garris, Nia; Lee, Joyce; Guerrero, Alma; Biely, Christopher; Jackson, Nicholas; Chung, Paul J.; & Dudovitz, Rebecca (2022). Commercial Sexual Exploitation During Adolescence: A US-Based National Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Public Health Reports. vol. 137 , PMCID: PMC9257491
AbstractObjectives: National data on the health of children and adolescents exposed to commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) are lacking, during both adolescence and adulthood. Using nationally representative data, we examined the health of male and female adolescents in grades 7-12 who experienced CSE exposure and subsequent adult health outcomes and access to health care.MethodsOur retrospective cohort study used data from Waves I-IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (1994-2008) to characterize relationships between CSE exposure before or during adolescence and health during adolescence and adulthood. The analytic sample included 10 918 adult participants aged 24-34 in Wave IV. We performed bivariate analyses, stratified by sex, to quantify the relationship between CSE exposure before or during adolescence and adolescent and adult health outcomes.ResultsFour percent of participants reported having a CSE exposure before or during adolescence (5% of males, 3% of females). Factors associated with CSE exposure among adolescents included race/ethnicity, parental education level, previous abuse, same-sex romantic attractions, history of ever having run away from home, and substance use. During adolescence, exposure to CSE was associated with worse overall health, depressive symptoms, and suicidal thoughts for both males and females. In adulthood, adolescent CSE exposure was associated with depression among males and functional limitations among females. A higher percentage of males with CSE exposure before or during adolescence, compared with their non?CSE-exposed peers, used the emergency department as their usual source of care during adulthood.ConclusionsCSE exposure before or during adolescence was associated with poor adolescent and adult health outcomes and health care access. Observed differences between males and females warrant further exploration.
Keyword(s)adolescent health, commercial sexual exploitation, risk/risk behavior, substance abuse
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitlePublic Health Reports
Author(s)Barnert, Elizabeth S.
Chung, Paul J.