Sexual Risk Behavior Six Months Post-High School: Associations With College Attendance, Living With a Parent, and Prior Risk Behavior
July 21, 2008
The current study examined sexual risk behavior (SRB) among a community sample of youth in the fall after their senior year of high school. In particular, the researchers looked at the associations between college and residential status and three measures of SRB: casual sex, inconsistent condom use, and high-risk sex.
The subjects of the study were 834 participants in the Raising Healthy Children project. These youths were surveyed annually during high school and in the fall following their senior year.
In the fall after high school, 30 percent of participants reported inconsistent condom use; 23 percent reported casual sex; and 11 percent reported high-risk sex. Youths not in college were more likely than those in college to report SRB. The protective association between college attendance on one hand and casual sex and intermittent condom use on the other was fully explained by high school substance use, risky sex, and academic performance. High school predictors partly explained the protective effect of college attendance on high-risk sex. Living with parents at ages 18-19 was not related to SRB.
"Results from this study indicate that the higher prevalence of SRB among noncollege youth is largely a continuation of patterns of higher risk behavior and lower academic performance during high school," the authors concluded. "College attendance was protective for the most high-risk sex measure. Findings suggest that [HIV] and [STD] prevention efforts are needed among young adults who are not attending college and among high school students who have earned poor grades, used drugs or engaged in SRB."
Journal of Adolescent Health
6.01.2008; Vol. 42; No. 6: P. 573-579; Jennifer A. Bailey, PhD; Charles B. Fleming, MS; Jessica N. Henson, BS; Richard F. Catalano, PhD; Kevin P. Haggerty, MSW
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.