Effects of adolescent depressive symptoms, pubertal development, and interpersonal relationship satisfaction on sexual risk behaviors in adolescent romantic couples

Rona Carter, Florida International University

Abstract

This study examined links between adolescent depressive symptoms, actual pubertal development, perceived pubertal timing relative to one’s peers, adolescent-maternal relationship satisfaction, and couple sexual behavior. Assessments of these variables were made on each couple member separately and then these variables were used to predict the sexual activity of the couple. Participants were drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health; Bearman et al., 1997; Udry, 1997) data set (N = 20,088; aged 12–18 years). ^ Dimensions of adolescent romantic experiences using the total sample were described and then a subsample of romantically paired adolescents ( n = 1,252) were used to test a risk and protective model for predicting couple sexual behavior using the factors noted above. Relevant measures from the Wave 1 Add Health measures were used. Most of the items used in Add Health to assess romantic relationship experiences, adolescent depressive symptoms, pubertal development (actual and perceived), adolescent-maternal relationship satisfaction, and couple sexual behavior were drawn from other national surveys or from scales with well documented psychometric properties. ^ Results demonstrated that romantic relationships are part of most adolescents’ lives and that adolescents’ experiences with these relationships differ markedly by age, sex, and race/ethnicity. Further, each respective couple member’s pubertal development, perceived pubertal timing, and maternal relationship satisfaction were useful in predicting sexual risk-promoting and risk-reducing behaviors in adolescent romantic couples. Findings in this dissertation represent an initial step toward evaluating explanatory models of adolescent couple sexual behavior. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Education, Guidance and Counseling|Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Carter, Rona, "Effects of adolescent depressive symptoms, pubertal development, and interpersonal relationship satisfaction on sexual risk behaviors in adolescent romantic couples" (2009). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3393513.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI3393513

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