Union Status and Sexual Risk Behavior Among Men in Their 30s

Authors

  • Nan Marie Astone,

    Corresponding author
    1. Nan Marie Astone is senior fellow, Center for Labor, Human Services and Population, Urban Institute, Washington, DC
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  • Joseph H. Pleck,

    1. Joseph H. Pleck is professor emeritus, Department of Human and Community Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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  • Jacinda M. Dariotis,

    1. Jacinda M. Dariotis is assistant professor, Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore
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  • Arik V. Marcell,

    1. Arik V. Marcell is assistant professor, Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore
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  • Mark Emerson,

    1. Mark Emerson is research associate, Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore
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  • Samuel Shapiro,

    1. Samuel Shapiro is a student, Department of Economics, Johns Hopkins Kreiger School of Arts and Sciences, Baltimore
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  • Freya L. Sonenstein

    1. Freya L. Sonenstein is professor, Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore
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Abstract

Context

Understanding the relationship between union status and men's sexual risk behavior in their 30s is important to ensure appropriate reproductive health services for men in middle adulthood.

Methods

Data from 1,083 men aged 34–41 who participated in the 2008–2010 wave of the National Survey of Adolescent Males were used to examine differentials in sexual risk behaviors by union status, past risk behavior and selected characteristics. Bivariate tabulations were done to assess relationships between current risk behavior and background variables, multinomial regression analysis was conducted to identify associations between union status and past risk behavior, and logistic regression analysis was used to assess associations between current behavior and both union status and past behavior.

Results

Eight percent of men in their 30s had had three or more sexual partners in the last 12 months, 10% had had at least one risky partner and 8% had had concurrent partners. Men living outside coresidential unions reported higher levels of these behaviors (24%, 29% and 24%, respectively) than did married men (1–2%) or cohabiting men (7–12%). In multivariate analyses that controlled for past risk behavior, married men were less likely than cohabiting men to have had at least one risky partner or concurrent partners in the last year (odds ratio, 0.2 for each), while men who were not in a coresidential union had an increased likelihood of reporting each risk behavior (2.2–5.3).

Conclusions

Men in their 30s, especially those who are not married, engage in risky sexual behaviors. Further studies are needed to assess what contributes to behavioral differences by union status and what types of services might help men in this age-group reduce their risk.

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