Age and gender specific sexual behaviors in children

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Sandnabba NK, Santtila P, Wannäs M, Krook K
Publication year: 2003
Journal: Child Abuse and Neglect
Journal acronym: Child Abuse Negl
Volume number: 27
Issue number: 6
Start page: 579
End page: 605
ISSN: 0145-2134


The purpose of the present research was to explore the sexual behaviors of 2- to 7-year-old children through reports of day-care personnel. An overall aim of this exploratory study was to provide information about the frequencies of child sexual behaviors. Also, the aim was to explore any age and gender differences.
A representative sample of 364 Finnish children not screened for developmental delay, sexual abuse history or psychiatric problems (181 girls and 183 boys) in 190 day-care centers were studied using the "Day-Care Sexuality Questionnaire" (DCSQ), with 244 sexual and other behavior items.
Age influenced more the extent of the 244 sexual behaviors of boys than of girls. In sexual behaviors increasing with age, girls showed behaviors with a more social character, whereas boys showed more explorative and information-seeking behaviors. Girls had a higher frequency of domestic and gender role exploring behaviors, whereas the boys tended to engage in explorative acting and information-seeking behaviors.
The results suggest that child sexual behavior reported by day-care personnel may provide useful information about the development of children's sexuality. Implications for sexual abuse investigations were discussed.

Last updated on 2020-30-05 at 05:20