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Keywords:

  • Violence;
  • adolescents;
  • risk factors;
  • sexual health;
  • sexual behavior;
  • risk-taking

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to use an ecological lens to explore gender differences in risky sexual behavior among urban adolescents exposed to violence.

Data Sources: This was a secondary analysis of data from a larger behavioral intervention trial that targeted drinking behaviors among adolescents. Data from a total of 2,560 male and female urban adolescents between the ages of 14 and 21 were analyzed for personal, interpersonal, and community exposure to violence and risky sexual behavior.

Conclusions: Violence has an impact on sexual risk. For females, carrying a weapon (p= 0.020) and feeling safe in intimate relationships (p= 0.029) were individual correlates of risky sexual behavior, while for males, race/ethnicity (p= 0.019) and being in a physical fight (p= 0.001) were significant correlates of risky sexual behavior.

Implications for Practice: Risky sexual behavior among adolescents may lead to negative reproductive health outcomes. Nurse practitioners are in an excellent position to affect change in this population through their frequent contact with adolescents in a variety of community and school-based venues. Nurse practitioners are also well-prepared to identify at-risk adolescents and provide them with individualized care, education, and support.