Sexual behavior problems in children: A systematic review of associated factors



*Boisvert I, Tourigny M, Lanctôt N, *Lemieux S. (2016). Sexual behavior problems in children: A systematic review of associated factors. Revue de psychoéducation. 45(1): 175-209.


The majority of children pass through the stages of psychosexual development in a healthy way. Some children, however, deviate from this path and exhibit sexual behavior problems (SBP). This systematic review identified the individual, family and social factors that distinguish children under 12 years of age who exhibit SBP from those who do not. Using the method proposed by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD, 2008), recognized as a best practice to conduct a systematic review (Tacconelli, 2010), a search identified 2,585 primary studies. Of these, 18 studies on the factors associated with the development of SBP were selected according to predetermined criteria. Despite the many methodological limitations of the studies, the results indicate that children exhibiting SBP show systematically more adversity in several risk areas of the proposed theoretical model (individual characteristics predisposing to behavioral problems, stressors affecting parents to provide optimal care, coercive parenting practices, disturbance of psychosexual development and quality of attachment), compared to children not exhibiting SBP. The inclusion of these areas is crucial to inform the assessment and intervention with children exhibiting SBP.