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Research discussed 

1) Sexual Abuse in Childhood and Sexual Dysfunction in Adulthood: An Australian Population-Based Study

Najman, Jake; Dunne, Michael; Purdie, David; Boyle, Francis; Coxeter, Peter 
Archives of Sexual Behavior, Volume 34, Number 5, October 2005 , pp. 517-526(10) 


This study examined self-reported adult sexual functioning in individuals reporting a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) in a representative sample of the Australian population. 

A sample of 1793 persons, aged 18–59 years, were randomly selected from the electoral roll for Australian states and territories in April 2000. Respondents were interviewed about their health status and sexual experiences, including unwanted sexual experiences before the age of 16 years. 

More than one-third of women and approximately one-sixth of men reported a history of CSA. Women were more likely than men to report both non-penetrative and penetrative experiences of CSA. 

For both sexes, there was a significant association between CSA and symptoms of sexual dysfunction. In assessing the specific nature of the relationship between sexual abuse and sexual dysfunction, statistically significant associations were, in general, evident for women only. 

CSA was not associated with the level of physical or emotional satisfaction respondents experienced with their sexual activity. The total number of lifetime sexual partners was significantly and positively associated with CSA for females, but not for males; however, the number of sexual partners in the last year was not related to CSA. 

CSA in the Australian population is common and contributes to significant impairment in the sexual functioning of adults, especially women. These consequences appear not to extend to the other areas of sexual activity considered in this study.

2) National Samples, Sexual Abuse in Childhood, and Adjustment in Adulthood - 
A Commentary on Najman, Dunne, Purdie, Boyle, and Coxeter (2005)

Bruce Rind and Philip Tromovitch 
Archives of Sexual Behavior; December 2006
< http://www.ipce.info/library_3/files/rind_national_samples.htm  >


This article comments on the Najman, Dunne, Purdie, Boyle, and Coxeter (2005) study [*] on the relationship between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and later sexual functioning in an Australian national sample.

We note the value of the Najman et al. study, being well conducted and using a generalizable sample, but critique Najman et al.’s interpretation that their study showed “significant impairment” due to the CSA. We computed effect sizes to show that the “effects” were small, and then show using meta-analysis that these small effects were consistent with results in a series of national samples from other countries.

We argue that Najman et al.’s causal statement about CSA’s “impairment” effect was unwarranted given their lack of causal analysis, the well-established fact in other research that CSA is often confounded with third variables, and the fact that CSA was confounded with a key third variable in Najman et al.’s study.

Given the hyperbole that surrounds the issue of CSA, we emphasize the need for researchers to adhere to valid scientific principles in inference and precision when reporting the results of CSA research. 

3) Childhood Sexual Abuse and Adult Sexual Dysfunction - Response to Commentary by Rind and Tromovitch (2007)

Jake M. Najman, Michael P. Dunne and Frances M. Boyle 
Archives of Sexual Behavior, December 2006
< http://www.ipce.info/library_3/files/najman_response.htm  >


Rind and Tromovitch (2007) raised four concerns relating to our article (Najman, Dunne, Purdie, Boyle, & Coxeter, 2005. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 34, 517–526.) which suggested a causal association between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and adult sexual dysfunction.

We consider each of these concerns:

magnitude of effect, 
cause and effect, confounding, and 
measurement error.

We suggest that, while the concerns they raise represent legitimate reservations about the validity of our findings, on balance the available evidence indicates an association between CSA and sexual dysfunction that is of “moderate” magnitude, probably causal, and unlikely to be a consequence of confounding or measurement error.

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