243357 Early sexual initiation and associated sexual risk and substance use behaviors

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tyra Gross, MPH , Health Promotion & Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Mary Ukuku, MPH , College of Public Health, University of Geogria, Decatur, GA
BACKGROUND: Participation in sexual risk behaviors contributes to negative health outcomes such as sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy. Youth who initiate sexual intercourse earlier in life are at increased risk for substance abuse, later delinquency, and depressive symptoms. OBJECTIVE: This study examines sexual risk and substance use behavior among adolescents who had first sexual intercourse before age 13 years (early initiators) in comparison to those who initiated after age 13 years (later initiators). METHODS: Secondary data analyses were conducted with 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data of 16, 410 students in high school grades 9th through 12th. Those reporting having “ever had sex” were selected for analysis (N=7,062). Chi-square analyses were conducted in SPSS to compare sexual risk and substance use behaviors of early initiators to later initiators. RESULTS: Early initiation of sex was higher among male (18.2%) than female (6.7%) students and higher among black (23.0%) and Hispanic (12.1%) than white (8.1%) students. Early initiators were more likely to report four or more sexual partners in their lifetime (p<.001), using alcohol or drugs before last sex (p<.001), using marijuana in the past 30 days (p<.001) and less likely to report using condoms at last sex (p=.002) or birth control pills at last sex (p<.001) in comparison to later initiators. CONCLUSION: Early initiators reported sexual risk and substance use behaviors. Research and comprehensive sex education need to be expanded to address this issue. Interventions are needed to target high-risk youth and educate them on positive healthy behaviors

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify gender and racial/ethnic groups more likely to report early initiation of sexual intercourse. 2. List five sexual risk and substance use behaviors of early initiators. 3. Discuss implications for public health in addressing the issue of early sexual initiation.

Keywords: Youth, Sexual Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I reviewed the literature on this topic and performed the majority of the secondary data analysis
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.