سن و جنس خاص رفتارهای جنسی در کودکان
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|35847||2003||27 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Child Abuse & Neglect, Volume 27, Issue 6, June 2003, Pages 579–605
Objective: The purpose of the present research was to explore the sexual behaviors of 2- to 7-year-old children through reports of day-care personnel. An overall aim of this exploratory study was to provide information about the frequencies of child sexual behaviors. Also, the aim was to explore any age and gender differences. Method: A representative sample of 364 Finnish children not screened for developmental delay, sexual abuse history or psychiatric problems (181 girls and 183 boys) in 190 day-care centers were studied using the “Day-Care Sexuality Questionnaire” (DCSQ), with 244 sexual and other behavior items. Results: Age influenced more the extent of the 244 sexual behaviors of boys than of girls. In sexual behaviors increasing with age, girls showed behaviors with a more social character, whereas boys showed more explorative and information-seeking behaviors. Girls had a higher frequency of domestic and gender role exploring behaviors, whereas the boys tended to engage in explorative acting and information-seeking behaviors. Conclusions: The results suggest that child sexual behavior reported by day-care personnel may provide useful information about the development of children’s sexuality. Implications for sexual abuse investigations were discussed.
Knowledge of child sexual development, including children’s sexual knowledge and behavior, is limited (Hackbarth James & Burch, 1999 and Volbert & van der Zanden, 1992). Playful sexual exploration during childhood is known to be common; children explore and compare both their own and other children’s bodies (e.g., playing doctor) and at the same time gender-specific roles develop (e.g., playing house) (Lamb & Coakley, 1993 and Trowell, 1997). Between birth and age 3, the basic gender identity of a child is shaped by both biological and environmental factors (Reinisch & Beasley, 1990 and Rice Allgeier & Allgeier, 2000). According to research, 40–75% of children participate in some form of sexual exploration before the age of 13 (Friedrich, Grambsch, Broughton, Kuiper, & Beilke, 1991; Goldman & Goldman, 1988). Children preferably participate in sexual play with same-aged children (Friedrich et al., 1992 and Johnson & Aoki, 1993). In a study by Reinisch and Beasley (1990) it was found that by the age of 2, children often hug, cuddle, kiss, climb on top of each other, and look at each other’s genitals. By 4 or 5, children are more sexually curious. They engage more frequently in masturbation, begin sexual games with each other, and are intrigued with the toilet behaviors of others. Explorative sexual behaviors are not unusual for children from age 3 to about age 6 or 7 (Volbert & van der Zanden, 1992). A few years later, the child begins to adopt social norms and taboos regarding sexuality and sexual behaviors. The child’s interest in sexuality and sexual behaviors exists contemporaneously with curiosity and interest about other things in the child’s life (Johnson & Aoki, 1993). Also, there are wide variations in sexual development and interest during childhood. According to Johnson, 1991 and Johnson, 1993, the behavioral variations of child sexual behavior can be divided into four groups: natural and healthy sexual play; sexually reactive behaviors; extensive, mutual sexual behaviors; and child perpetrating behaviors. Knowledge regarding the sexual behaviors of children is not only of theoretical interest. Bernet (1997) stressed that it is important to be aware of the normal sexual behaviors of children for at least two additional reasons. First, normal sexual play activities between children should not be regarded as resulting from sexual abuse, and, second, sexually abused children manifest more sexual behaviors than non-clinical children do, so it is relevant to know what the baseline is. Due to the limited knowledge of usual sexual behavior patterns in children, the possibility exists that adults will either under-react and minimize problematic sexual behaviors as normal experimentation, or overreact and pathologize typical behaviors as deviant. Without frequency data about children’s sexual behaviors and development, adults are likely to impose their own personal standards. Also, professionals are often expected to know whether a child’s sexual behavior falls within normal bounds (Heiman et al., 1998 and Horner et al., 1993). Also, their judgments of what constitutes age-inappropriate sexual knowledge and sexual behavior is an important criterion, used to assess suspicions of child sexual abuse (Briere & Elliott, 1997 and Heiman et al., 1998). Therefore, it is important to know what is common or age appropriate child sexual behavior. For example, it has been found that behaviors involving interactive sexual play tend to be rated as more abnormal than self-directed sexual behaviors, even when the behavior is similar in nature (Heiman et al., 1998). Thus, the actual frequency of sexual behavior of children in the population can be an important guide to clinicians in diagnoses, treatments, and investigations in legal cases (Kendall-Tackett, Meyer Williams, & Finkelhor, 1993; Lamb & Coakley, 1993). Other than general conclusions about several specific child sexual behaviors and their age of onset, relatively little empirical research has been conducted on the sexual behavior of young children and its relation to family variables and other child behaviors (Friedrich et al., 1991). Since children’s sexual behavior may be influenced by culture (Heiman et al., 1998), research conducted in this area should involve several countries. Children’s sexual behavior has been studied in a few countries (Friedrich, 1991). For example, Davies, Glaser, and Kossoff (2000) reported that in English preschool settings, curiosity about genitalia, looking and limited touching were common behaviors. Also, drawing genitalia and simulating sexual intercourse were observed, whereas insertion of objects into another child as well as oral-genital contact were rare. A Swedish study (Lindblad, Gustafsson, Larsson, & Lundin, 1995) of child sexual behavior in preschools reported similar results with uncommon behaviors including touching of an adult’s genitals or trying to make an adult touch child genitals, inserting objects, and obsessive masturbation. In another Swedish study (Larsson & Svedin, 2002), teachers’ and parents’ reports concerning 3- to 6-year-old children’s sexual behavior were compared. Parents observed more sexual behavior at home compared to day-care. Additionally, according to Conte and Schuerman (1987), some effects of sexual abuse may continue throughout childhood, while others appear to be age specific. Therefore, it is important to conduct research on the occurrence of age-related sexual behaviors in a representative sample of children. Furthermore, findings of differences in reactions between male and female sexual abuse victims (Johnson, 1993 and McClellan et al., 1997) and under-representation of male participants in child sexual abuse studies, makes it important to study gender differences (Friedrich et al., 1992; White, Halpin, Strom, & Santilli, 1988). Also, significant gender differences in sexual behaviors of children in day-care were observed by Larsson and Svedin (2002). Such findings are expected as gender contributes to the initial context within which adults respond to a child (Vogel, Lake, Evans, & Hildebrand-Karraker, 1991), and research suggest that gender role socialization begins at the time of an infants birth (Seavey, Katz, & Zalk, 1975). In most parents, intentionally or not, their knowledge of the sex of their newborn infant elicits a set of expectations consistent with beliefs about gender-appropriate traits (Rubin, Provenzano, & Luria, 1974). These category-based beliefs about gender appropriate traits are called gender-role stereotypes. Adults’ stereotypes of young children include personality traits as well as interests, and few traits are not gender-typed (Martin, 1995) suggesting that children’s sexual behavior would also be gender-typed resulting in parental efforts of directing the sexual behavior of boys and girls differently. Although women generally have been found to be more accepting of children’s cross-gender behavior than men (Martin, 1990), a study in Finland of parents of 5-year-old children showed that men perceived society as more accepting of cross-gender behavior in boys than women did (Sandnabba & Ahlberg, 1999). However, such gender-typing is likely to act on differential evolutionary based adaptions among boys and girls due to the evolved differences between male and female reproductive strategies (see Barret, Dunbar, & Lycett, 2002). Previous studies have rarely made a distinction between behaviors directed towards the child’s own gender as opposed to the opposite gender. This distinction was made in the present study when appropriate. To summarize, the purpose of the present research was to explore the sexual behavior of a representative sample of 2- to 7-year-old children in Finnish day-care centers using members from the personnel as observers. An overall aim of this exploratory study was to provide information about the frequencies of child sexual behaviors in a non-screened representative sample of children. Also, the aim was to explore any age and gender differences. Studies on sexually abused children suggest that externalized age-inappropriate or problematic sexual behavior are more typical for sexually abused boys than girls who have more internalized sexual behavior problems (e.g., Friedrich & Schafer, 1995 and Ray & English, 1995). Therefore, we expected that even a representative non-screened sample of boys would show a pattern of explorative acting and information-seeking type of behaviors, whereas girls would show a pattern of internalizing and more socially oriented behaviors. In terms of age effects, an overall pattern of increasing sexual behaviors with increasing age was expected in this age range. However, some behaviors were expected to be age-specific. In the present study, the term ‘gender’ is used to include biological (sex), psychological (gender), and social (gender) aspects. The term “sexual behavior” will be used to describe sexual and related behaviors despite the fact that not all of the reported behaviors are even implicitly of a sexual nature. Rather, they are behaviors that, in the literature, have been considered sensitive to disturbances in the sexual development of children, or behaviors that have been associated with sexual abuse.