National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

Risky Adolescent Sexual Behaviors and Reproductive Health in Young Adulthood

Scott, M. E.,
Wildsmith, E.,
Welti, K.,
Ryan, S.,
Schelar, E.,
Steward-Streng, N. R.
Year Published: 2011
Journal Article
The Guttmacher Institute
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 43(2)
grants FPR006015?01 and FPRPA006049?01 from the Office of Population Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Although young adults bear a disproportionate burden of STDs and unintended childbearing, little research links adolescent risk behaviors to reproductive health outcomes beyond adolescence. In this study, the authors analyzed data from Waves 1-4 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health for 5,798 sexually active respondents. The purpose was to assess whether individuals who engaged in risk behaviors during adolescence had increased risk of negative reproductive health outcomes in young adulthood. Four in 10 youth reported at least three risk factors during adolescence. Women who were exposed to an increasing number of risks had an elevated likelihood of having had multiple sex partners in the last year, having had an STD, and having had an intended or unintended birth. Inconsistent contraceptive use and having had multiple partners, a nonmonogamous partner, or a nonromantic partner were associated with reporting multiple partners in the last year. Inconsistent use, sexual debut afterage 16, and not discussing contraception with a partner were associated with having any birth. Modified Author Abstract.

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