Patterns of Risk Behavior Change from Adolescence to Emerging Adulthood and Implications for Sexually Transmitted Infections

Carolyn Tucker Halpern, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Bonita Iritani, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation
Denise Hallfors, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation
Abigail Haydon, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Youth ages 15-24 accounted for almost half of new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in 2000. Few studies have explored developmental trajectories in STI risk behaviors from adolescence through early adulthood. Those that do tend to focus on alcohol, marijuana, or cigarette use, even though sexual and substance use risk behaviors often covary. The lack of information about developmental patterns of STI risk behaviors is problematic given that temporal patterns in adolescent risk behavior are dynamic, and their implications for health may vary based upon behavioral context, age of initiation, and duration of persistence. Using data from Waves I and III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), this paper will describe temporal patterns in STI risk behavior clusters from adolescence into young adulthood, and determine whether the association between contemporaneous adult risk behavior profiles and STIs varies depending on the individual’s adolescent behavior risk profile.

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Presented in Poster Session 6