Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2022

Department

Human Development and Family Science

Abstract

Introduction: Little is known about the risks of casual sexual partnerships during adolescence despite many adolescents having sex within noncommitted relationships. We applied theories of adult attachment, planned behavior, and problem behavior to examine emotional and social cognitive predictors of variability in sexual risk indicators among adolescents in committed and noncommitted partnerships.

Method: Data were drawn from 801 adolescents (53.6% female; ages 14-20 (M = 16.25)) living in a southern state in the United States.

Results: Findings showed that healthy sex attitudes were related to knowing one’s sexual partner longer; this association was stronger for females, particularly those in noncommitted sexual partnerships. Additionally, healthy sex attitudes predicted fewer sexual partners across adolescents, except for male adolescents in noncommitted sexual partnerships. Romantic attachment insecurity and constraining relationship beliefs had different associations with sexual risk indicators according to gender and relationship status.

Conclusion: Findings contribute to current understanding of risks associated with adolescents' sexual engagement and offer insights about adolescents’ casual sexual partnerships.

Publication Title

Journal of Adolescence

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