Document Type



Social Work

First Advisor's Name

Christopher Rice

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Barbara Thomlison

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Mark Macgowan

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Robert Malow

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


drug use, incarcerated, sexual behaviors, teenagers

Date of Defense



During the past two decades there has been much research conducted on the relationship between the risky sexual behavior practices and substance use among U.S. adolescents. This body of research has documented the fact that substance use and not using condoms are the most important indicators associated with the risk of becoming infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STD) both among adolescents and adults (Florida Department of Public Health, 2004; Malow, Devieux, Jennings, & Lucenko, 2001; McCoy & Inciardi, 1995). Data from those reports and studies indicate that adolescents and adults who use a condom regularly and appropriately are 20 times less likely to contract an STD than those who do not (Pinkerton & Abramson, 1997). However, less empirical evidence exists about the factors that influence adolescent use of condoms, particularly among adolescents who are detained due to their criminal lifestyle. Researchers have found both a high prevalence of STD in addition to early onset of sexual activity without protection among some adolescent groups such as the detainees (D'angelo & DiClemente, 1996) and that adolescents tend to underestimate their risks of acquiring the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (Magura, Shapiro, & Kang, 1994). Many adolescents will experiment with alcohol and other drugs. This behavior may compromise their judgment and increase their chances of engaging in risky sex (Rotheram-Borus, 2000). Hence the need for research that investigates the influence that substance use, risky sexual attitudes, knowledge about the transmission of HIV, and both peer and parental approval of condom use have on the use of condoms among both female and male adolescent detainees. Lastly, it is important for additional research to be conducted because adolescent detainees have been identified as being at high risk of becoming infected with an STD (Malow, Rosemberg, & Devieux, 2006). The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship among adolescent substance use, gender, sexual risk attitude, attitude about personal use of condoms, knowledge associated with the transmission of HIV, peer and family approval of condom use, history of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and the level of condom use in a sample of adolescents housed in a correctional institution. Further details of the explanatory variables, the control variables and their expected relationships can be found in the review of the Literature in Chapter 2. Also, more information about the separate analysis of the research questions is detailed in the Methods section in Chapter 3. Based on the literature detailed in Chapter 2 (e.g., Malow et al., 2006), the current study’s researcher anticipated that adolescents’ higher levels of illicit drug use would be related to higher levels of sexual risk behaviors, as measured by lower levels of condom use, than their counterparts who used no drugs. Similarly, it was hypothesized that positive attitudes toward condom use and higher levels of HIV risk knowledge would be associated with a lower level of risky sexual behaviors along with a higher level of condom use skill. It was further hypothesized that the level of approval perceived from parents and peers regarding condom use was going to be related to adolescents’ safe sex behavior (i.e., condom use). Therefore, it was expected that participants’ perception of a high level of approval to use condoms from peers and parents would be a statistically significant variable in helping explain the condom use within this sample of adolescent detainees.





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