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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200148 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Tracing the Roots of Early Sexual Debut Among Adolescents in Psychiatric Care
Author(s): Geri R. Donenberg Ph.D.; Fred B. Bryant Ph.D.; Erin Emerson M.A.; Helen W. Wilson B.A.; Keryn E. Pasch B.A.
Editor(s): Mina K. Dulcan M.D.
Date Published: May 2003
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Mental Health
Bethesda, MD 20852
Grant Number: R01 MH58545
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the central family, peer, partner, and personal characteristics associated with the timing of sexual debut for youths in psychiatric care.
Abstract: For youths in psychiatric care, social and personal factors may be more salient predictors of sexual risk-taking and prevention. This study attempted to identify the most important social and personal characteristics related to early sexual debut among troubled teenagers. As part of a larger longitudinal study, 227 families participated in this study. Parents provided information about their adolescent’s age, gender, and ethnicity and the family’s socioeconomic status. The study analyzed parent and teen reports of parental behavior and adolescent psychopathology and youth reports of their own personal characteristics, peer, and partner relationships, self-efficacy beliefs, and sexual behavior. The primary purpose of the data analysis was to generate a classification model that identified as accurately as possible whether youths initiated oral, vaginal, or anal sexual activity at age 14 years and younger or 14 years of age or older. Forty-one predictors were analyzed representing five social and personal constructs in building the classification tree. The study showed a complex interplay of social and personal factors associated with sexual debut among youths in psychiatric care. Three social context variables (parental hostile control, negative and positive peer influence) and one personal characteristic (externalizing symptoms) correctly classified almost 90 percent of teens initiating sexual activity at 14 years of age or younger or older than 14 years of age. Parent behavior was seen as a central factor in adolescent’s initial sexual activity; parental hostile control was the single most powerful variable linked to sexual debut. The findings yielded important implications for clinical practice. These implications are presented and discussed. References
Main Term(s): Adolescents at risk
Index Term(s): Adolescent pregnancy; Adolescents with AIDS; Juvenile psychological evaluation; Psychiatric services; Psychosexual behavior; Risk taking behavior; Sexual behavior; Sexually transmitted diseases; Social conditions
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