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An investigation into the factors associated with risky sexual behaviour in adolescents

Purpose: The aim of the present study was to explore sexual behaviour in an adolescent cohort of school attenders from the United Kingdom. Of particular interest was their reported engagement in sexual behaviours that carry a potential risk of becoming pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and psychological factors which may be associated with this. Method: 333 participants (253 girls and 80 boys) aged between 16 and 18 years were recruited from educational institutions across the South of England. They completed a questionnaire battery, which included measures of shame, including shame proneness, body shame and self. surveillance, impulsive personality traits, self.esteem and self.compassion to explore the associations of these factors with risky sexual behaviour (RSB). It was hypothesised that these factors would all be associated with RSB in adolescent boys and girls. Results: Impulsivity was most strongly correlated with and predicted RSB in both boys and girls. Shame, including shame proneness, body shame and selfsurveillance, was positively associated with RSB in both boys and girls although the associations between these factors were different depending on gender. Internalised expressions of shame were significantly correlated with RSB in girls whereas outward expressions of shame were more strongly associated with RSB in boys. Selfesteem and self.compassion were inversely correlated with RSB in girls, but this relationship was not reflected as strongly in boys. Conclusions: Shame, impulsivity, self.esteem and self-compassion are all factors correlated with RSB in adolescents but the associations differ between boys and girls. Implications for sex education programmes and clinical work are discussed and suggestions are made for future research to extend the present findings. Keywords: impulsivity; self.compassion; self-esteem; shame; risky sexual behaviour. Implications and Contribution: Findings from this study suggest associations between shame, impulsivity, self-esteem, self.compassion and their relationships with RSB in adolescents. Self-views, in particular, self.compassion and shame and gender differences in their link with RSB are currently under-researched. These preliminary findings contnbute to current research exploring factors affecting RSB in adolescents.

Identiferoai:union.ndltd.org:bl.uk/oai:ethos.bl.uk:658854
Date January 2014
CreatorsWinstanley, Harriet
PublisherUniversity of Surrey
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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