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Men’s childhood sexual abuse histories by one-parent versus two-parent status of childhood home
  1. William C Holmes
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr W C Holmes
 Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Philadelphia VA Medical Center; University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 733 Blockley Hall, 423 Guardian Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19104–6021, USA; holmeswc{at}


Objectives: To estimate the association between number of parents in the childhood home and childhood sexual abuse (CSA) with adjustment for childhood socioeconomic status (CSES).

Methods: Probability sample of 298, 18–49-year-old men from Philadelphia County, number of parents living in childhood home, socioeconomic data and CSA histories were obtained.

Results: 197 (66%) men participated. 186 (94%) of these lived with at least one parent; 76 (39%) and 110 (56%) lived with one parent versus two parents, respectively. 22 (29%) of 76 and 18 (16%) of 110 reported CSA histories, respectively (OR 2.08, p = 0.04). Two approaches to adjustment for CSES indicated continued association between parent number and CSA (OR 2.38–2.39, p = 0.05–0.07). Parent number was associated with numerous differences in CSA perpetrator characteristics and abuse experiences. Men from one-parent versus two-parent families reported significantly more non-family and female perpetrators (p = 0.03 and 0.01, respectively) and fondling experiences (p = 0.04).

Conclusions: Findings provide additional support for the association between parent number and CSA in boys, suggesting that parent number is not just a proxy for CSES. CSA experiences also differed between one-parent and two-parent homes. Findings generate numerous hypotheses for future study.

  • CSA, childhood sexual abuse
  • CSES, childhood socioeconomic status
  • FPL, federal poverty line
  • SES, socioeconomic status

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  • Funding: WCH was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (DA015635) and is a recipient of a Research Career Development award from the Health Services Research & Development Service of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • Competing interests: None declared.

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