Sexual Activity and Problem Behaviors among Black, Urban Adolescents

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135 Scopus citations


This article focuses on whether sexual activity is best considered in the same paradigm as adolescent substance use and assault or separately. Among black, inner‐city adolescents (N= 705), followed longitudinally since first grade, 3 questions were examined: (1) how these 3 behaviors co‐occur, (2) their early family and school precursors, and (3) their relations with adolescent school behavior and parental supervision. The 3 most frequent patterns were compared: no problem behaviors, only sexual activity, and the combination of sexual activity, heavy substance use, and/or assault. In general, the multiproblem adolescents differed from the other adolescents in their behavior and parental supervision. While sex‐only males were similar to the no‐problem males, sex‐only females differed from the no‐problem girls in their family origins. These results suggest that by examining adolescent behaviors in their co‐occurring combinations in epidemiologically defined populations, variations in pathways to deviance can be better understood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2032-2046
Number of pages15
JournalChild development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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