The association of consensual sexual intercourse during childhood with adolescent health risk and behaviors

M. D. Resnick, R. W. Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective. The association of childhood sexual intercourse, excluding sexual abuse, with adolescent health and risk behaviors was examined using the urban component of a statewide study on adolescent health, risky behaviors, and resiliency factors. Methodology. A specialized cohort design was used to derive a two-group sample. Index cases consisted of all adolescents who indicated that they had first intercourse at or before age 10 years, and controls were adolescents who either had not yet had intercourse or had done so at age 16 years or older. To avoid confounding with issues of sexual abuse, all adolescents who also indicated a history of sexual abuse on the survey were removed from the analysis, so that the comparison could focus on health and behavioral correlates of respondents who did not define their childhood sexual intercourse as constituting abuse. Comparisons were conducted separately for girls and boys. Results. A significantly greater proportion of index cases than controls indicated problem substance use by parents, poor school performance, gang involvement, frequent and unprotected sexual intercourse, history of pregnancy involvement, desire to leave the home, history of mental health treatment, emotional distress, and suicidal involvement. Logistic regression revealed significant group differences including academic risk, gang involvement, frequency of sexual intercourse, and history of mental health treatment. Correct group classification with the logit model was approximately 90% for both girls and boys. Conclusions. The results underscore the importance of childhood sexual intercourse as an indicator of other health-compromising behaviors and risk factors. Clinicians should be alert to this clustering of risk behaviors in their psychosocial assessment of young people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-913
Number of pages7
JournalPediatrics
Volume94
Issue number6 I
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • adolescent health
  • risk behaviors
  • sexual behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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