Investigation of Child Sexual Abuse Impact on Binge Drinking among Adults in the U.S.

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Background: In 2012, 62,939 cases of child sexual abuse (CSA) were reported in the United States (US). During the same year, binge drinking (BD) cost the US nearly $250 billion. Currently there are 38 million Americans who participate in BD. Researchers have found a significant association between adults who experienced adverse childhood events (ACEs) and BD in adulthood. However, CSA and BD have yet to be investigated using a nationally representative study sample. Objective: This study seeks to investigate the association between CSA and BD among adults in the US. Methods: Data from 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) were used to analyze a sample of 25,037 adult participants from states that included the ACE questionnaire in the survey. CSA components, including forced touched sexually, forced to touch sexually, and forced sex, were assessed in relation to BD. Covariates included parental alcoholism, parental substance abuse, parental depression, age, sex, income, race, education level, and marital status. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression models were conducted using SAS 9.4. Results: Approximately 17% of the study sample reported BD. Adults who had been touched forcefully during their childhood had around 2.18 times increased odds (adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 2.18; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.97 – 2.41) of being involved in BD compared to those who did not have this experience. Being forced to touch sexually or forced to have sex during childhood was not significantly associated with BD and was not included in the adjusted model. Having parents who abused drugs (aOR 6.14; 95%CI: 5.56–6.79) and parents who were depressed (aOR: 3.35; 95%CI: 3.09-3.64) significantly increased the odds of BD among this population. Conclusion: Forced sexual touch was found to be significantly associated with BD. Further epidemiologic studies are necessary to determine if this is consistent in different years for the association between CSA and BD, since forced to touch sexually and forced sex were not found to impact BD in adults. The increased odds for BD from experiencing forced touch identifies a population where health education and awareness is vital to reduce the risk for BD in adults, thus reducing alcohol-related health problems and injuries. Health promotion campaigns for families affected by parental substance abuse and parental depression is also important to reduce the risk for BD among adults growing up with these experiences.


Johnson City, TN

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