Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Policy and Administration

Advisor

Dr. Joshua Ozymy

Abstract

Research has suggested that behaviors beginning in childhood or adolescence may play a mediating role in the relationship between childhood maltreatment and involvement in prostitution. It is currently unknown how poor self-concept and low self-efficacy play a mediating relationship in this association. The primary purpose of this correlational study was to evaluate early youth problem behaviors such as poor self-concept and reduced self-efficacy as possible mediators in the association between childhood abuse/neglect and participation in prostitution during young adulthood. The central research questions explored the association between childhood maltreatment and involvement in prostitution, as well as how self-concept and self-efficacy mediate the association between childhood maltreatment and engagement in prostitution in young adulthood. The Eco-developmental theory provided the theoretical framework for the study. Data consisted of 4,882 adolescents in Grades 7â??12 in the United States during the 1994â??1995 school year from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, 61 of whom self-reported activity in prostitution. Results from Pearson correlations and Structural Equation Models indicated a relationship between childhood maltreatment and prostitution during young adulthood; self-efficacy and self-concept did not mediate this relationship. Childhood abuse was not a significant predictor of self-efficacy and self-efficacy was not significantly related to prostitution. Childhood maltreatment was a significant, negative predictor of positive self-concept. By demonstrating that childhood maltreatment is linked to prostitution in young adulthood, this research can foster positive social change, by showing the value of creating intervention programs that target childhood abuse in order to reduce involvement in prostitution in young adulthood.

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