Patterns of Adolescent Sexual Behavior Predicting Young Adult Sexually Transmitted Infections: A Latent Class Analysis Approach

Sara A. Vasilenko, Kari C. Kugler, Nicole M. Butera, Stephanie T. Lanza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

Adolescent sexual behavior is multidimensional, yet most studies of the topic use variable-oriented methods that reduce behaviors to a single dimension. In this study, we used a person-oriented approach to model adolescent sexual behavior comprehensively, using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. We identified five latent classes of adolescent sexual behavior: Abstinent (39 %), Oral Sex (10 %), Low-Risk (25 %), Multi-Partner Normative (12 %), and Multi-Partner Early (13 %). Membership in riskier classes of sexual behavior was predicted by substance use and depressive symptoms. Class membership was also associated with young adult STI outcomes although these associations differed by gender. Male adolescents’ STI rates increased with membership in classes with more risky behaviors whereas females’ rates were consistent among all sexually active classes. These findings demonstrate the advantages of examining adolescent sexuality in a way that emphasizes its complexity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-715
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Latent class analysis
  • Sexual behavior
  • Sexually transmitted infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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