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There are 2 versions of this paper. We use data from The National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health to estimate effects of adolescent girls' overweight on their propensity to engage in risky sexual behavior. We estimate single equation, two-stage, and sibling fixed-effects models and find that overweight or obese teenage girls are more likely than their recommended-weight peers to engage in certain types of risky sexual behavior but not others. The from this study underscore the importance of using multifaceted and contemporary measures of risky sexual behavior and have implications for the health and well-being of adolescent girls. Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation.


Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. The of adolescent births is once again on the rise. Heterosocial competence described as successful interactions i. Data was obtained using four surveys. Adolescent births are once again on the rise. Although health e. As the challenge of the adolescent pregnancy problems continues, health disparities associated with teen pregnancy also continue.

The adverse risks associated with adolescent pregnancy for African Americans are higher compared to other ethnic groups.

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For example, the risk of extreme preterm births for African American babies remains about two to three times that of Euro American infants Martin et al. African American teens compared to other ethnic groups are also more likely to be single custodial parents and living below the poverty level www.

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With the current increase in the adolescent pregnancy rate and continued health disparities related to teen pregnancy, researchers and those who provide care to the adolescents are concerned, given the health and socioeconomic consequences associated with childbearing during adolescence. Researchers once again are re-evaluating factors associated Sex singles Doswell engaging in early intimate sexual behaviors and re-examining extant Sex singles Doswell frameworks to predict adolescent sexual behavior.

These interactions typically occur in a variety of settings i. Failure to achieve heterosocial competence may place adolescents at risk for engaging in risky sexual behaviors i. Thus, caring for youth requires that providers are aware of the levels of heterosocial competence adolescents have achieved and the heterosocial behaviors in which they are engaged. However, a dearth of information exists on the issues related to heterosocial competence i. Although the cause of the recent pregnancy rate increase is unknown, a re-examination of existing theoretical frameworks appears warranted given that frameworks provide a systematic way of understanding events.

Frameworks can also provide insight on the type of interventions needed. The TRA posits that the most proximal determinant of behavior is intention to engage in the behavior, with intention co-predicted by attitudes and subjective norms. Attitudes refer to the views the adolescent holds toward the behavior and may be either positive or negative. Norms are an adolescent's estimate of the social pressure to engage or not engage in the behavior. Attitudes and norms are informed by underlying behavioral and normative beliefs.

Given our past work with the TRA as a framework for understanding early intimate sexual behaviors, we were interested in examining the potential contribution of heterosocial competence. To address the lack of information on hetersocial competence aspects heterosocial contexts, heterosocial behaviors among African American middle school girls and its association with constructs in the TRA, we conducted the current analysis.

Exploring the relationship among weight, race, and sexual behaviors among girls

Thus, the aims of this study with African American middle school girls using the TRA were to: 1 describe the heterosocial behaviors endorsed by the girls, 2 assess the level of intimate sexual behaviors in which girls engage, and 3 examine the relationship between heterosocial behaviors and intimate sexual behaviors. Following the receipt of approval from the Institutional Review Board at the University of Pittsburgh and from the principals of five public middle schools located in western Pennsylvania, enrollment into a randomized clinical trial 5RO1HDreferred to as the NIA study, was initiated.

The study was deed to prevent or delay the adolescents from engaging in early intimate sexual behaviors. Upon receipt of parental consent and the girls' assent, a total of middle school girls completed our baseline assessment, which was comprised of seven surveys after school. For this analysis, data was drawn from four self-report surveys.

Social contexts items for example assessed if during the past year the Sex singles Doswell had spent time alone with a boy in a private place e. In like manner, hetersocial behaviors items specifically assessed the way in which girls communicate with boys e. Using a 5-point rating scale, response options were coded from 0 Never to 5 Frequently; more than 5 times. Total scores on the scale ranged from zero to thirty. Cronbach alphas of 0. Light petting was defined as having a boy touch a girl's body over her clothes.

Another look at heterosocial behaviors: one side of the early intimate sexual behaviors coin

Heavy petting referred to having a boy touch a girl's body under her clothes. We modified the SBI by describing the intimate behaviors within the contexts of respectively casual and steady boy relationships. Total scores on the SBI ranged from zero to twenty-four. Our assessment of the reliability of the scale yielded a Cronbach alpha of 0. In our effort to further understand the participants and their interactions with boys, we also queried the girls on their perception of how their respective boyfriend s acted toward them with respect to their age.

Using an 8-point rating scale, participants could select from 1 younger than their age to 4 their age to 7 a lot older than their ageto 8 no boyfriend.

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Girls also completed a pubertal development assessment which consisted of 5 pictures depicting female Tanner stage breast development i. Our past work with middle school girls has documented that this population is able to determine their stage of breast development. All statistical analyses were performed using SAS version 9. Descriptive statistics were performed to examine sample characteristics.

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Additionally, descriptive statistics were performed to address: aim 1 describe heterosocial behaviors ; and aim 2 assess level of intimate sexual behaviors. For aim 3 examine relationship between heterosocial behaviors and intimate sexual behaviors, linear regression models were generated.

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The sample was comprised of middle school African American girls with a mean age of Approximately Based on self-reporting, the modal response on the assessment of pubertal status, specifically Female Tanner Stage: Breast development, was 4 i. Similarly, an overwhelming of girls Girls' response with respect to of boyfriends during the past year was similar to the response on the perceived maturation item. The of our first linear regression analysis, after controlling for age and pubertal status i.

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Thus, as the frequency of the social contexts increased so did engagement in intimate sexual behaviors. Our suggest as the of heterosocial behaviors increased in frequency so did the engagement in intimate sexual behaviors. This is one of the few studies to examine the concept of heterosocial competence, specifically heterosocial behaviors with middle school African American girls.

Similarly, the work by Grover and colleagues ; targeted primarily Euro-American adolescents, not African American teens.


Several important findings are revealed that have implications for the development of and implementation of interventions deed to assist African American middle school girls delay or prevent engagement in early intimate sexual behaviors. Our first aim was to describe the heterosocial behaviors in which the middle school girls engaged. It was of interest to find that most of the girls had not been alone with a mixed group of boys and girls or with just one boy without adults being around.

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The finding is surprising given that statistics from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy in their overview on the sexual behavior of young adolescents has typically found that young teens age years report being at parties without any grown ups around www. Girls in our study may have failed to be as candid as possible when responding to the heterosocial contexts items given negative societal views related to adolescents being alone without adult supervision. Additionally, our sample of girls were drawn from a moderate size city located in the northeastern geographic region of the county and the reported responses of girls from the region may differ from counterparts living in other areas of the country.

Girls had, however, engaged in calling boys on the phone and reported hugging boys. This finding suggests that those working with middle school girls should query them with regard to such behaviors as calling boys and hugging them. Querying girls on these behaviors can provide an avenue for providing information related to healthy and age appropriate female- male interactions. Our finding may reflect the impact of social desirability. Additionally, the finding may reflect the positive trend noted at the beginning of the 21 st century in which fewer adolescents were engaging in sexual activity.

Baseline assessments were conducted with our participants from to Based on the findings from this study, an optimal period in which to intervene with respect to engagement in sexual intercourse appears to be the middle school years given a majority of girls have yet to have become sexually active. Thus, adolescent pregnancy prevention interventions and programs should Sex singles Doswell the middle school years. Both of our models reveal the need for further examination of the concept of heterosocial competence among middle school girls given the positive association respectively between heterosocial contexts, heterosocial behaviors and engagement in early intimate sexual behaviors.

As practitioners, our assessments should include questions that address the social contexts in which boy-girls interactions occur as well as the behaviors. The of this study should be interpreted in the context of the following limitations. First, because this study employed a cross-sectional de with participants drawn from one geographical region, we are only able to assess association, not causation.

Furthermore, our findings cannot be generalized to African American middle school girls living in other regions of the country. Second, our data is based Sex singles Doswell self-reported information. Third, our instruments measured heterosocial competence i.

For example, our heterosocial behaviors items did not assess communicative interactions using 21 st century communication technology e. Finally, the intimate sexual behaviors girls responded to failed to incorporate, oral sex. Little is known about the concept of heterosocial competence, specifically heterosocial contexts and heterosocial behaviors, among ethnic minorities across different age groups.

By examining the concept among different ethnic and racial groups, researchers will be able to examine the manner in which heterosocial competence possibly varies across the different groups. For example, how similar or different are the heterosocial contexts situations experienced by African American high school adolescents compared to Hispanic adolescents.

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La conducta riesgoza de la sexualidad: el rol de la religiosidad entre la juventud de escazos recursos en Brazil.