Predicting sexual risk behaviors among adolescent and young women using a prospective diary method


  • The authors would like to thank the participants in the study for their important contribution to HIV-prevention science.


We describe the sexual risk behaviors, psychological distress, and substance use of 102 late adolescent girls and identify predictors of protected and unprotected vaginal sex. Participants completed questionnaires assessing hypothesized predictors and then daily behavioral diaries for 12 weeks. Protected intercourse was predicted by baseline sexual behavior, greater knowledge, positive condom attitudes, lower perceived condom-use difficulty, greater condom-use intentions, more drinking days, less binge drinking, less Ecstasy use, and lower psychological distress. Unprotected intercourse was predicted by baseline sexual behavior, binge drinking, Ecstasy and opiate use, fewer drinking days, and fewer daily drinks. These findings suggest that psychological distress, substance use, and sexual risk behavior are interconnected and should be considered collectively in interventions for adolescent females. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 31:329–340, 2008