Risky sexual behavior and substance use among adolescents: a meta-analysis

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University of Alabama Libraries

Adolescents' participation in risky sexual behavior has continued to grow over the past 15 years, as they account for approximately 25% of all new STD cases (4). These elevated rates of STD infection have created a sense of urgency in the need to understand the predictors of risky sexual behavior (RSB). Due to its disinhibiting effects on decision-making, the influence of substance use on sexual behavior has been the focus of research for at least two decades. While substance use and risky sexual behavior are among the top predictors of HIV infection in adults, less is known about the moderators of the relation between these two variables across studies amongst adolescents. In response to this crisis, the purpose of this meta-analysis is to examine the strength of the relation between risky sexual behavior and substance use among adolescents and elucidate the gaps in the literature. It will also enable researchers to generate hypotheses that will guide empirical investigations. We employed a multiple pathways approach to investigate the moderators (i.e., gender, type of drug) of the relation between adolescent substance use and risky sexual behavior. Results indicated that gender, type of drug, and level of analysis were significant moderators of the relation between RSB and substance use. Implications and suggestions for future directions will be discussed.

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Psychology, Public health