COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Relationship between number of sexual intercourse partners and selected health risk behaviors among public high school adolescents

R F Valois, J E Oeltmann, J Waller, J R Hussey
Journal of Adolescent Health 1999, 25 (5): 328-35
10551663

PURPOSE: To examine the relationship between number of sexual partners and selected health risk behaviors in a statewide sample of public high school students.

METHODS: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Survey was used to secure usable sexual risk-taking, substance use, and violence/aggression data from 3805 respondents. Because simple polychotomous logistic regression analysis revealed a significant Race x Gender interaction, subsequent multivariate models were constructed separately for each race-gender group. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals was calculated from polychotomous logistic regression models for number of sexual intercourse partners and their potential risk behavior correlates.

RESULTS: An increased number of sexual intercourse partners were correlated with a cluster of risk behaviors that place adolescents at risk for unintended pregnancy, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, and other sexually transmitted infections. For Black females, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana use, and dating violence behaviors were the strongest predictors of an increased number of sexual partners; white females had similar predictors with the addition of physical fighting. For white males, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana use, physical fighting, carrying weapons, and dating violence were the strongest predictors of an increased number of sexual intercourse partners. Black males had similar predictors with the addition of binge alcohol use.

CONCLUSION: Prevention of adolescent sexual and other health risk behaviors calls for creative approaches in school and community settings and will require long-term intervention strategies focused on adolescent behavior changes and environmental modifications.

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