239102 Substance use, sexual risk behaviors, and mental health problems among Mississippi public high school students

Monday, October 31, 2011

James McGuire, PhD , Department of Community Health Sciences, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS
Background and objective: Limited data are available on substance use and sexual risk behaviors among Mississippi adolescents. This study describes the patterns of substance use and sexual risk behaviors and examines the relationships among a representative sample of Mississippi high school students.

Methods: Participants included 9th-12th grade Mississippi adolescents (N=1,789) who completed the 2009 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Multiple logistic regression analyses were performed. The independent variables included smoking, alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine use. The dependent variables were early sexual initiation (≤12 years), multiple sexual partners (≥4 partners), and condom use.

Results: Sixty-one percent of the participants ever had sexual intercourse and 13.4% engaged in early sexual initiation. Nearly a quarter had four or more lifetime sexual partners. One-third did not use a condom during last sexual intercourse. Two-thirds ever drank alcohol. Over one-third used marijuana. The prevalence of suicidal thoughts and attempts in the past 12 months were 14.3% and 8.4%, respectively. Older age, African America ethnicity, drinking alcohol, using marijuana or other drugs were associated with early sexual initiation and having multiple sexual partners. Heavy smoking was associated with early sexual initiation. Being a male was associated with having multiple sexual partners. Using marijuana or other drugs was associated with unprotected sex.

Conclusions: Findings highlight the extensive substance use and engagement of sexual risk behaviors among Mississippi adolescents. Interventions that address both substance use and sexual risk behaviors may have a great impact in preventing pregnancy and HIV/STI transmission and curtailing substance abuse problems among Mississippi adolescents.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1) Explain the relationships between substance use and sexual risk behaviors and mental health among Mississippi high school students. 2) Identify and articulate the importance of addressing both substance use and sexual risk behaviors in HIV prevention interventions. 3) Discuss gender differences in substance use and sexual risk behaviors among high school students in rural Mississippi.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Drug Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be the abstract author because of my contribution of this work and I work closely with my state (Mississippi) department of health to analyze data of this nature.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.