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Associations of risk of depression with sexual risk taking among adolescents in Nova Scotia high schools

, : Associations of risk of depression with sexual risk taking among adolescents in Nova Scotia high schools. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Revue Canadienne de Psychiatrie 55(9): 577-585

Several interrelated factors, including depression, influence adolescents' chances of risky sexual behaviour. We examined the relation between depression and sexual risk-taking behaviours in adolescents after accounting for the effects of other variables. We surveyed male (n = 1120) and female (n = 1177) adolescents at 4 high schools in central Nova Scotia, measuring factors known to be associated with sexual risk taking. Risk of depression was assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Outcomes were self-reported sexual behaviours. We used logistic regression to assess associations of multiple factors with sexual risk taking. In univariate analyses, risk of depression was associated with 3 risk-taking behaviours for females (being sexually active, having unplanned sex when using substances, and not using effective contraception at last intercourse) and 2 for males (having unplanned sex when using substances and having more than 1 partner in the previous year). In full multivariate models, risk of depression in females remained significantly associated with unplanned sex and nonuse of effective contraception at last intercourse, but was no longer associated with being sexually active. For males, both associations remained significant. Risk of depression is consistently and independently associated with adolescent sexual risk behaviours after adjusting for other variables. Health care providers working with teenagers should screen for risky sexual behaviours and sexually transmitted infections if depression is apparent in their patients.


PMID: 20840805

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