Gender differences in sexual risk behaviours and sexually transmissible infections among adolescents in mental health treatment

Puja Seth, Delia L. Lang, Ralph DiClemente, Nikia D. Braxton, Richard A. Crosby, Larry K. Brown, Wendy Hadley, Geri R. Donenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background Adolescents with a history of psychiatric disorder(s) are particularly vulnerable to contracting sexually transmissible infections (STIs) as a result of psychological and emotional states associated with higher rates of risky sexual behaviour. The present study examined gender differences in sexual risk behaviours and STI among adolescents in mental health treatment. Methods: Three hundred and seventy nine sexually active adolescents, aged 1318 years, from a larger multisite study, who received mental health treatment during the past year, completed an audio computer-assisted self interview assessing sociodemographics, psychiatric symptomatology and HIV/STI risk behaviours, and provided urine specimens tested for STI. Results: After controlling for covariates, multivariate logistic regression models indicated that female adolescents were more likely to have had an HIV test (adjusted odds ratio (AOR)≤3.2, P≤0.0001), obtain their HIV test results (AOR≤2.9, P≤0.03), refuse sex out of fear for STI acquisition (AOR≤1.7, P≤0.04), or avoid a situation that might lead to sex (AOR≤2.4, P≤0.001), and were less likely to have a casual sex partner (AOR≤0.40, P≤0.002). Additionally, females were more likely to report inconsistent condom use (AOR≤2.60, P≤0.001) and have a STI (AOR≤9.1, P≤0.0001) than their male counterparts. Conclusions: Female adolescents receiving mental health treatment were more than nine times as likely to have an STI and more likely to use condoms inconsistently. The standard of care for mental health practice for adolescents should include referrals for STI screening and treatment as well as assessment and discussion of risky sexual behaviours as part of the treatment plan when indicated. Effective programs should address gender-specific communication and behavioural skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-246
Number of pages7
JournalSexual Health
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 25 2012

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Risk-Taking
Sexual Behavior
Mental Health
Infection
Condoms
HIV
Therapeutics
Psychiatry
Logistic Models
Ego
Standard of Care
Fear
Referral and Consultation
Odds Ratio
Communication
Urine
Interviews
Psychology

Keywords

  • risky sexual behaviour.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

Cite this

Gender differences in sexual risk behaviours and sexually transmissible infections among adolescents in mental health treatment. / Seth, Puja; Lang, Delia L.; DiClemente, Ralph; Braxton, Nikia D.; Crosby, Richard A.; Brown, Larry K.; Hadley, Wendy; Donenberg, Geri R.

In: Sexual Health, Vol. 9, No. 3, 25.06.2012, p. 240-246.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Seth, Puja ; Lang, Delia L. ; DiClemente, Ralph ; Braxton, Nikia D. ; Crosby, Richard A. ; Brown, Larry K. ; Hadley, Wendy ; Donenberg, Geri R. / Gender differences in sexual risk behaviours and sexually transmissible infections among adolescents in mental health treatment. In: Sexual Health. 2012 ; Vol. 9, No. 3. pp. 240-246.
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abstract = "Background Adolescents with a history of psychiatric disorder(s) are particularly vulnerable to contracting sexually transmissible infections (STIs) as a result of psychological and emotional states associated with higher rates of risky sexual behaviour. The present study examined gender differences in sexual risk behaviours and STI among adolescents in mental health treatment. Methods: Three hundred and seventy nine sexually active adolescents, aged 1318 years, from a larger multisite study, who received mental health treatment during the past year, completed an audio computer-assisted self interview assessing sociodemographics, psychiatric symptomatology and HIV/STI risk behaviours, and provided urine specimens tested for STI. Results: After controlling for covariates, multivariate logistic regression models indicated that female adolescents were more likely to have had an HIV test (adjusted odds ratio (AOR)≤3.2, P≤0.0001), obtain their HIV test results (AOR≤2.9, P≤0.03), refuse sex out of fear for STI acquisition (AOR≤1.7, P≤0.04), or avoid a situation that might lead to sex (AOR≤2.4, P≤0.001), and were less likely to have a casual sex partner (AOR≤0.40, P≤0.002). Additionally, females were more likely to report inconsistent condom use (AOR≤2.60, P≤0.001) and have a STI (AOR≤9.1, P≤0.0001) than their male counterparts. Conclusions: Female adolescents receiving mental health treatment were more than nine times as likely to have an STI and more likely to use condoms inconsistently. The standard of care for mental health practice for adolescents should include referrals for STI screening and treatment as well as assessment and discussion of risky sexual behaviours as part of the treatment plan when indicated. Effective programs should address gender-specific communication and behavioural skills.",
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