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Sexual victimization of early maturing girls and related consequences

About this project

Project information

Project status


Research subject

Despite the legislature's efforts, sexual harassment is common among adolescents and it becomes more common the older they become. Sexual harassment can have very negative short and long term consequences for the victim. To understand the origin of sexual harassment and to identify those at greatest risk for being exposed are important parts in any effort to prevent this problem.


Previous research has shown that early maturing girls are more likely to be sexually harassed and also to have higher levels of depressive symptoms and other types of mental ill health. According to our theoretical model, early maturing girls are victimized as a result of their natural sexual development, and this will lead to mental ill health.


We will make an empirical test of the theoretical model using data collected as part of a large-scale, longitudinal research project on high school adolescents, 7 Schools. This project has been used in several high-quality studies published in international journals. Our preliminary statistical analyzes have provided support for the model. The second aim is of applied nature. Based on the empirical study, we intend to develop a working material that can be used by youth clinics to prevent and deal with sexual harassment, from both girls’ and boys’ perspectives. The results of the study will thus provide important information about young girls 'vulnerability to sexual harassment, especially those at higher risk of being exposed and its consequences. It is our hope that the information obtained in this project can be of use in both practice and policymaking and thus have the potential to improve young girls' living conditions.

Research funding bodies

  • Crime Victim Fund