Parenting styles and family structure as risk factors of adolescents' sexual abuse
Institute of Sociology and Social Policy University of Tartu Tartu, Estonia
The current paper aims to examine the relations between parenting styles, family structure and sexual victimisation among adolescents. The empirical data are drawn from a large international survey "The Baltic Sea Regional Study on Adolescents' Sexuality" which was carried out in Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia in 2003-2004. The survey was conducted as a paper-and-pencil survey among high school and vocational school students. The sample of present study includes altogether 12.868 young people from Norway, Sweden, Estonia, and Lithuania. The respondents were at age 17 - 19.
Binary logistic regression analysis was performed to test associations between arguments and predicting variable (being a victim) separately for each country. The results indicated that high parental closeness and providing support in the case of personal problem of a child significantly decrease the probability of sexual abuse for each country. Caring and control by parents are also significant risk factors of victimisation, however, not for each country. A remarkable result is that the respondents living by themselves have a higher risk of abuse than those who live by both parents.
In conclusion, the current paper demonstrates that deficient parental support, consideration and social network increase the minors' defencelessness and vulnerability to external dangers. Consequently, the problem of "invisible parents" essentially influences the well-being of young persons.