Online Program

Factors influencing adolescent girls sexual behavior: A secondary analysis of the youth risk behavior survey

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 10:50 a.m. - 11:10 a.m.

Katharine Anatale, BSN Student, Colleg of Nursing, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ
Sarah Kelly, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark, NJ
Rachel Gart, BSN Student, College of Nursing, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ
Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of body image and depression upon sexual risk taking in an adolescent female population. Adolescent health is an area of growing interest in today's society, encompassing such issues as obesity, depression, and sexual health. Negative body image has repeatedly been shown to affect girls' risk taking behavior. Girls are three times more likely to report depression when compared with boys. Girls also have higher percentages of unprotected sex when compared with boys. It is crucial to tease out the factors that influence sexual activity in girls. Method: A secondary data analysis of the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) was used to explore girls' sexual activity, body image, and mental health. The YRBS focuses on risk taking behaviors and health in a national sample of adolescents. Of the 86 questions in the YRBS, three questions were used to represent the three constructs under investigation. Results: While there were significant correlations between sexual activity, body image, and depression, only depression and body image were significant predictors of sexual activity. Conclusion: Our findings support previous studies that suggested that people with depression were more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors. Our study also supports the idea that a negative body image decreases sexual activity; however, other researchers have reported that negative body image leads to an increase in sexual activity.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Identify the relationship among depression, body image, and girls' sexual behavior. Discuss how important it is be aware of girls' perceptions of their mental health and body image and how it affects their behavior.

Keyword(s): Adolescent Health, Sexual Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked with Dr. Kelly on the topic of adolescent health and risk taking behaviors.
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.