High-risk sexual behavior in college students: An examination of antecedents from childhood maltreatment

Date of Completion

January 1996


Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Clinical|Education, Health




This study investigated the associations between a history of child maltreatment and high-risk sexual behavior in the college population, testing a causal model that proposed locus of control and dissociation as mediator variables between child maltreatment and high-risk sexual behavior. Subjects were 336 college students, primarily caucasian and female. Consistent with prior research, child maltreatment was significantly correlated with both higher levels of dissociation and an external locus of control. Although child maltreatment, dissociation, and external locus of control were each correlated with some of the outcome measures, only the subscale for childhood punishment and the dissociation measure were both correlated with one of the outcome variables. When a path analysis was done with those variables, dissociation appeared to mediate the relationship between a subject's reported history of childhood punishment and their endorsement of items representing misconceptions of HIV/AIDS information. ^