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Preschoolers' sexual behavior at daycare centers: An epidemiological study
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Huddinge University Hospital, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
1995 (English)In: International Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect, ISSN 0145-2134, E-ISSN 1873-7757, Vol. 19, no 5, 569-577 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The frequency of sexual behaviors in a population of preschoolers (n = 251) attending Swedish daycare centers was studied using a questionnaire given to the staff. Some behaviors turned out to be frequently occurring, like searching for body contact and responding to such contact. However, several behaviors were very uncommon (1% or fewer): touching an adult's genitals; attempting to make the adult touch the child's genitals; using objects against own or other childs genitals/anus; to masturbate obsessively, without pleasure or in a way that caused pain. Other behaviors occurred more frequently but were still uncommon (less than 2% of the children displayed such a behavior “sometimes” or “often/daily”): exhibiting own genitals; playing sexually explorative games; initiating games with a similarity to adult sexual activity; using sexual words; attempting to touch a woman's breast. Only masturbation and clinging body contact were positively correlated with behavioral disturbance. The correlations between age and single behaviors may be summarized as manifestations of the process of socialization. The results offer an incipient frame of reference for statistically normal expected sexual behaviors in preschoolers at daycare centers. The rarity of certain behaviors implies that their occurrence in an individual case may necessitate special clinical attention.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1995. Vol. 19, no 5, 569-577 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-80945DOI: 10.1016/0145-2134(95)00016-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-80945DiVA: diva2:549468
Available from: 2012-09-04 Created: 2012-09-04 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Children and sexuality: "Normal" sexual behaviour and experiences in childhood
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Children and sexuality: "Normal" sexual behaviour and experiences in childhood
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Child sexual behaviour has until recently remained largely unexplored in Sweden, despite theoretical interest in normal childhood sexuality. Issues about sexual abuse and its consequencies has, however, created a need for research on developmentally "normal" sexual behaviour and experiences among boys and girls, while growing up.

The overall purpose of the present thesis was to gain knowledge about sexual behaviour and experiences before adolescence, in normative groups of children in contemporary Sweden. The empirical work consists of five papers based on three separate quantitative studies. Two studies include preschool children (n=251 and n=185, and a sample from the USA, n=467) with questionnaires to parents and preschool staff. The thesis is also addressing adult views on child sexuality. One study focus on childhood sexual experiences up until the age of 13 (n=269), in which young adults (18-20 years old) answered questionnaires about solitary, mutual and nonconsensual childhood sexual activities.

A wide range of sexually related behaviour was observed, most of which was developmentally related. Parents reported more sexual behaviour in their children compared to preschool teachers' reports. Adult-like sexual behaviour, and behaviour of intrusive character, were extremely rare in the preschool children. Gender differences were explored and found on some aspects and there was a correlation between reported behaviour and family factors. A Swedish sample of preschool children's' behaviour according to parental reports, was compared to a similar sample from the USA, and similarities as well as cultural differences were found.

In self-reports from students, solitary experiences and mutual sexual activities together with a same-aged friend were common before adolescence. Non-consensual sexual activities, with same-aged children was relatively common. In other cases the non-consensual experiences happened together with an older teenager, or with an adult.

The results provide an incipient frame of reference for further studies on child sexual behaviour in Sweden. Observable behaviour is one very important factor to consider when clinicians and other child-care professionals are to make assessments of a child's developmental status and situation, and knowledge in this area therefore holds importantimplications. Child sexuality need to be addressed within paediatrics and child psychiatry, as well as in social work, not only in terms of risk andeffects after abuse, but also as an integral part of healthy child development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet, 2001. 91 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 689
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-28595 (URN)13749 (Local ID)91-7219-985-7 (ISBN)13749 (Archive number)13749 (OAI)
Public defence
2001-10-05, Berzeliussalen, Universitetssjukhuset, Linköping, 09:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2012-09-04Bibliographically approved

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