Which behavioral, emotional and school problems in middle-childhood predict early sexual behavior?

Parkes, A. , Waylen, A., Sayal, K., Heron, J., Henderson, M. , Wight, D. and Macleod, J. (2014) Which behavioral, emotional and school problems in middle-childhood predict early sexual behavior? Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43(4), pp. 507-527. (doi:10.1007/s10964-013-9973-x)

[img]
Preview
Text
82290.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

346kB
[img]
Preview
Text
82290coversheet.pdf

62kB

Abstract

Mental health and school adjustment problems are thought to distinguish early sexual behavior from normative timing (16–18 years), but little is known about how early sexual behavior originates from these problems in middle-childhood. Existing studies do not allow for co-occurring problems, differences in onset and persistence, and there is no information on middle-childhood school adjustment in relationship to early sexual activity. This study examined associations between several middle-childhood problems and early sexual behavior, using a subsample (N = 4,739, 53 % female, 98 % white, mean age 15 years 6 months) from a birth cohort study, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Adolescents provided information at age 15 on early sexual behavior (oral sex and/or intercourse) and sexual risk-taking, and at age 13 on prior risk involvement (sexual behavior, antisocial behavior and substance use). Information on hyperactivity/inattention, conduct problems, depressive symptoms, peer relationship problems, school dislike and school performance was collected in middle-childhood at Time 1 (6–8 years) and Time 2 (10–11 years). In agreement with previous research, conduct problems predicted early sexual behavior, although this was found only for persistent early problems. In addition, Time 2 school dislike predicted early sexual behavior, while peer relationship problems were protective. Persistent early school dislike further characterized higher-risk groups (early sexual behavior preceded by age 13 risk, or accompanied by higher sexual risk-taking). The study establishes middle-childhood school dislike as a novel risk factor for early sexual behavior and higher-risk groups, and the importance of persistent conduct problems. Implications for the identification of children at risk and targeted intervention are discussed, as well as suggestions for further research.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wight, Professor Daniel and Parkes, Dr Alison and Henderson, Dr Marion
Authors: Parkes, A., Waylen, A., Sayal, K., Heron, J., Henderson, M., Wight, D., and Macleod, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
Journal Name:Journal of Youth and Adolescence
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0047-2891
ISSN (Online):1573-6601
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Youth and Adolescence 43(4):507-527
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record