Religiosity and Child Sexual Abuse: A Risk Factor Assessment

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This study was conducted to examine the relationship between religion and child sexual abuse. A self-report survey questionnaire was administered to 397 freshmen students at a southern university. The students were asked about several social background factors, including involvement with church and religious activities. They were also asked to disclose whether they had been sexually abused as a child. The present study found significant relationships between religiosity and victims of child sexual abuse by both relatives and non-relatives. Persons sexually abused by a relative were much more likely to be affiliated with fundamental Protestant religions. Persons sexually abused by a non-relative were much more likely to rarely or never be involved in church and religious activities and were affiliated with liberal religious denominations or indicated they were atheists or agnostics.