JOURNAL ARTICLE

Peer rejection, affiliation with deviant peers, delinquency, and risky sexual behavior

Jennifer E Lansford, Kenneth A Dodge, Reid Griffith Fontaine, John E Bates, Gregory S Pettit
Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2014, 43 (10): 1742-51
25150986
Risky sexual behavior poses significant health risks by increasing sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies. Previous research has documented many factors related to risky sexual behavior. This study adds to the literature by proposing a prospective, developmental model of peer factors related to risky sexual behavior. Developmental pathways to risky sexual behavior were examined in a sample of 517 individuals (51% female; 82% European American, 16% African American, 2% other) followed from age 5-27. Structural equation models examined direct and indirect effects of peer rejection (assessed via peer nominations at ages 5, 6, 7, and 8), affiliation with deviant peers (assessed via self-report at ages 11 and 12), and delinquency (assessed via maternal report at ages 10 and 16) on risky sexual behavior (assessed via self-report at age 27). More peer rejection during childhood, affiliation with deviant peers during pre- adolescence, and delinquency in childhood and adolescence predicted more risky sexual behavior through age 27, although delinquency at age 16 was the only risk factor that had a significant direct effect on risky sexual behavior through age 27 above and beyond the other risk factors. Peer rejection was related to subsequent risk factors for girls but not boys. Peer risk factors as early as age 5 shape developmental pathways through childhood and adolescence and have implications for risky sexual behavior into adulthood.

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