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Medical News

Growth Trajectories of Sexual Risk Behavior in Adolescence and Young Adulthood

May 31, 2007

In the current study, the authors examined longitudinal trajectories of sexual risk behaviors across adolescence and young adulthood (ages 18-25 years) and how these trajectories may differ for varying demographic groups.

Multi-level growth models of sexual risk behavior were developed for a predominantly African-American sample (n=847) that was followed for eight years, from adolescence to young adulthood. The authors investigated differences in growth parameters by race/ethnicity and gender, and their interactions.

The final model included linear and quadratic terms for both adolescence and young adulthood, indicating an increase of sexual risk behaviors during adolescence and a peak and deceleration during young adulthood. Although African-American males exhibited the highest rate of sexual risk behavior in ninth grade, they had the slowest rate of growth. Compared with their white peers, African-American males and females exhibited less sexual risk behavior as young adults.

"Our results suggest that youths of different races/ethnicities and genders exhibit varying sexual risk behavior trajectories," the researchers concluded.

Back to other news for May 2007

Adapted from:
American Journal of Public Health
06.2007; Vol. 97; No. 6: P. 1096-1101; Stevenson Fergus, Ph.D., M.P.H.; Marc A. Zimmerman, Ph.D.; Cleopatra H. Caldwell, Ph.D.

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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