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The diversity of sexually active teens: Urban American adolescents' sexual debut predicting risk and protection factors
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Caribbean Center for Child Development, Nassau, Bahamas.
Adrian Dominican School of Education, Barry University, Miami Florida, United States of America.
Department of Psychology, Florida International University, Miami Florida, United States of America.
2010 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Later sexual debut has been connected to increased psychosocial strengths (Houlihan et al., 2007). These cross-sectional analyses speak to the need to look not only for risks, but also for strengths in sexually active adolescents. We hypothesized that later sexual debut, even among sexually active teens, would be associated with decreased risk and increased protection in individual and relationship factors. Participants (N=280) were 57% male and predominately 96% Black or African American (Mage = 17) sexually active high school students in an urban setting. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Youth Survey National Substance Abuse, HIV, and Hepatitis Prevention Initiative Cohort 6 Youth Baseline Questionnaire was used as the primary index. This self report survey has established psychometric properties. In this study, scale scores had good (.68-.85) internal reliability. Scale scores and individual items provided indices of adolescents' sexual debut, HIV and hepatitis knowledge, norms related to drug use, perceived harm associated with drug use, perceived control in risk situations, peer risk (i.e., friends' drug use, antisocial behavior, and sexual activity), as well as the youth's perception of family cohesion. Results showed that relative to participants with an early sexual debut, those with a later debut were more likely to disapprove and perceive more risk associated with drug use, report greater control in risk situations, have fewer 'risky' friends, and know more about hepatitis. SEM analyses (AMOS 17.0) showed similar results. All indices pointed towards good model fit. Parameter estimates indicated that later sexual debut was linked to less peer risk, greater disapproval of drugs, and increased hepatitis knowledge. Results across analyses suggested that sexual debut was important to how these adolescents stood on drug related risk and protective factors, their perceptions of friends, and health knowledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
adolescent, sexuality, gender
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-53404OAI: diva2:390648
12th Biennial Conference of the European Association for Research on Adolescence, May 12-15, 2010, Vilnius, Lithuania
Available from: 2011-01-22 Created: 2011-01-22

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