Alriksson-Schmidt AI, Armour BS, Thibadeau JK. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org. J Sch Health. 2010 Jul;80(7):361-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2010.00514.x.
BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether US female adolescents who self-reported having a physical disability or long-term health problem were more likely to report having been physically forced to have sexual intercourse than US female adolescents without a physical disability or long-term health problem.
METHODS: Using data from the 2005 U.S. National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), we employed logistic regression analyses to estimate the association between physical disability (and other variables) and the risk for sexual violence among US high school girls.
RESULTS: Female high school students who reported a physical disability or long-term health problem were more likely to report having been physically forced to have sexual intercourse than those who did not (19.6% vs 9.4%; chi(2) = 14.51, p = .003). Results from our multivariate analysis reveal that this association remained significant (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.10-2.23) after adjusting for certain demographic characteristics, physical health problems, behavioral health risks, and violent conduct.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that adolescent girls in the United States with a physical disability or long-term health problem may be at increased risk for sexual violence. It is important that national efforts to reduce sexual violence consider how to address the unmet needs of children and adolescents with disabilities. As most adolescent girls spend the majority of their time in a school setting, it is of particular importance that school health professionals are aware of the current findings.