267867 Attitudes towards sexual intercourse: Differences according sexual experience and gender

Monday, October 29, 2012

Margarita R. Moscoso-Alvarez, PhD , Foundations of Education, Rio Piedras Campus, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR
Linnette Rodriguez-Figueroa, MS, PhD , Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Puerto Rico, Graduate School of Public Health, San Juan, PR
Hector Colón, PhD , Center for Evaluation and Sociomedical Research, School of Public Health, San Juan, PR
Juan C. Reyes, EdD, MS , Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Puerto Rico, Graduate School of Public Health, San Juan, PR
Hesmy Sánchez-Vega, MS , Consulta Juvenil Study, Department of Family Medicine, Universidad Central del Caribe, Bayamón, PR
Educational programs have been developed to prevent adolescents' unsafe sexual relations to reduce their risk for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, serious health problems among Puerto Rican youth. This study evaluates attitudes towards sexual intercourse among adolescents by sexual experience, gender, age, and educational activities using preliminary data collected in 2011 with the "Consulta Juvenil VIII" cross-sectional survey. The sample (n=4,002) was selected using a multi-stage stratified cluster sampling design, and is representative of all 7th-12th grade students in Puerto Rico. Most of the students were females and between 14-16 years old. Although 28.3% reported sexual debut, 53.9% indicated that they would abstain from sex. Reasons for abstaining included being too young, possible infection, being against their beliefs, and guilty feeling. There were differences in the reasons for abstaining when compared by gender, age, and sexual intercourse experience. The main reason among sexually-experienced males was their beliefs, while females indicated possible infection. The main reason among those with no sexual experience was age. The decision to abstain was not significantly different when evaluating participation in educational activities related with pregnancy prevention or sexually transmitted diseases. Effective sexual health programs are needed to mitigate the growing public health challenges of HIV, STD transmission, and pregnancy. Prevention programs should be directed to increase adolescents' resiliency. Lessons should address safe sex, student unfavorable attitudes towards sexual behavior, risk perception, and personal beliefs. Findings from this study will have important implications for the development of preventive intervention programs for the Hispanic adolescents.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the importance of addressing adolescents' values and beliefs about why they abstain from sexual intercourse.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Sexual Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Co-Principal Investigator of the project. Also, I conceptualized the idea of the study and participated in the writing of the abstract. As a school psychologist, I work as a researcher and evaluator of school programs designed to reduce adolescents’ risky behaviors by identifying the associated risk and protective factors.
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.

Back to: 3405.0: Sexual Risk Reduction