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Early Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Young Adult Sexual Health

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Objective: To test a longitudinal and multilevel model predicting young adult risky sexual behaviors and sexually transmitted infections. Methods: Data from 14,058 participants in 3 waves were used to link community and family disadvantage, adolescent adjustment problems, and risky sexual behaviors with STIs. Results: Community-level disadvantage, being African American, and being female remained predictors of sexual behaviors and STIs whereas adolescent adjustment mediated the effect of several family characteristics. Conclusions: This study demonstrates how individual-, family-, and community-level characteristics and vulnerabilities contribute to young adult sexual risk and STI prevalence. Findings indicate specific individual characteristics and childhood experiences that should be specific targets of STI prevention efforts.


Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Human Development & Family Studies, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA. 2: Department of Human Development & Family Science, Oklahoma State University, Tulsa, OK, USA 3: Department of Child and Family Development, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA

Publication date: 2012-11-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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