Halpern, C.T.; Hallfors, D.
; Bauer, D.J.; Iritani, B.
; Waller, M.
; and Cho, H. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
, vol. 36, issue 6, pgs. 239-247 (2004)Context: Sex and drug behaviors covary in adolescence. HIV prevalence shows important differences by race and biological sex, yet little systematic investigation of possible differences in risk behavior patterns by these subgroups has been conducted, particularly with nationally representative samples.
Methods: Analyses are based on 13,998 Non-Hispanic Black and White adolescents who participated in Wave I of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). A priori considerations and K-Means cluster analysis were used to cluster adolescents based on self-reported drug and sexual behavior. Multinomial logit analyses were used to examine sex and race differences in cluster membership.
Results: Each adolescent was grouped into one of 16 clusters representing increasingly non-normative patterns of drug use and sexual risk taking. Most youth (47%) were in low risk clusters (Abstainers and Light Substance Dabblers), with very low STDs (less than 1%). Sex Dabblers (low drug use) was the next most normative cluster (15%), and represented almost a third of all STDs reported. Important sex and race differences were evident in cluster patterns. Black boys were five times more likely than White boys, and Black girls twice as likely as White girls, to be Sex Dabblers. Black boys were also more likely to be in Multiple Partner, Sex for Drugs, and MSM clusters than White boys. Black girls were less likely than boys or White girls to be in non-normative clusters, but most likely to report an STD.
Conclusions: Risk behavior patterns vary by race and sex. High STD prevalence for Black girls does not correlate with their behavior patterns, underscoring the prevention need for further investigation of adolescents? sexual partners and sexual networks.