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J Pediatr. 1991 Nov;119(5):826-33.

Psychosocial and behavioral factors associated with risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus infection, among urban high school students.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


The main purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of multiple psychosocial and knowledge-related antecedent factors that may predict sexual and alcohol and drug use behaviors that are associated with the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus infection. Five hundred forty-four ninth-grade urban high school students were surveyed regarding knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to STDs and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Results of multiple regression analyses indicate that higher levels of STD and AIDS knowledge were associated with lower levels of STD and AIDS anxiety (R2 delta = 0.09; p less than 0.001), fewer negative attitudes toward people with AIDS (R2 delta = 0.09; p less than 0.001), stronger perceptions of self-efficacy (R2 delta = 0.03; p less than 0.01), and stronger peer affiliation (R2 delta = 0.02; p less than 0.05). Negative attitudes toward people with AIDS were inversely related to knowledge (R2 delta = 0.08; p less than 0.001), social support (R2 delta = 0.02; p less than 0.01), and perceived self-efficacy (R2 delta = 0.01; p less than 0.05). Predictors of alcohol and drug use included perceived peer norms (R2 delta = 0.08; p less than 0.001) and strong peer affiliation (R2 delta = 0.05; p less than 0.001). The best predictor of sexual risk behavior was alcohol and drug use (R2 delta = 0.07; p less than 0.001). Lower levels of knowledge (R2 delta = 0.14; p less than 0.01) and perceived peer norms (R2 delta = 0.05; p less than 0.05) predicted nonuse of condoms. Our results indicate that several factors relate to adolescent risk for STDs: the connection between peer influence and adolescent risk behaviors, the link between alcohol and drug use and sexual risk behavior, and the role of knowledge in determining nonuse of condoms.

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