Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor's Name

Jonathan G. Tubman

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

James Jaccard

Third Advisor's Name

Mary Levitt

Fourth Advisor's Name

Eric F. Wagner

Keywords

Multi-problem youth, Sex-related Expectancies, alcohol and other drug use among youth, Integrative model, sexual risk behaviors, adolescent's health risk behaviors

Date of Defense

3-24-2010

Abstract

Research has identified a number of putative risk factors that places adolescents at incrementally higher risk for involvement in alcohol and other drug (AOD) use and sexual risk behaviors (SRBs). Such factors include personality characteristics such as sensation-seeking, cognitive factors such as positive expectancies and inhibition conflict as well as peer norm processes. The current study was guided by a conceptual perspective that support the notion that an integrative framework that includes multi-level factors has significant explanatory value for understanding processes associated with the co-occurrence of AOD use and sexual risk behavior outcomes. This study evaluated simultaneously the mediating role of AOD-sex related expectancies and inhibition conflict on antecedents of AOD use and SRBs including sexual sensation-seeking and peer norms for condom use.

The sample was drawn from the Enhancing My Personal Options While Evaluating Risk (EMPOWER: Jonathan Tubman, PI), data set (N = 396; aged 12-18 years). Measures used in the study included Sexual Sensation-Seeking Scale, Inhibition Conflict for Condom Use, Risky Sex Scale. All relevant measures had well-documented psychometric properties. A global assessment of alcohol, drug use and sexual risk behaviors was used.

Results demonstrated that AOD-sex related expectancies mediated the influence of sexual sensation-seeking on the co-occurrence of alcohol and other drug use and sexual risk behaviors. The evaluation of the integrative model also revealed that sexual sensation-seeking was positively associated with peer norms for condom use. Also, peer norms predicted inhibition conflict among this sample of multi-problem youth.

This dissertation research identified mechanisms of risk and protection associated with the co-occurrence of AOD use and SRBs among a multi-problem sample of adolescents receiving treatment for alcohol or drug use and related problems. This study is informative for adolescent-serving programs that address those individual and contextual characteristics that enhance treatment efficacy and effectiveness among adolescents receiving substance use and related problems services.

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