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01-10-2009 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 9/2009

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 9/2009

Trajectories of HIV Risk Behavior from Age 15 to 25 in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Sample

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 9/2009
Debra A. Murphy, Mary-Lynn Brecht, Diane M. Herbeck, David Huang


This study utilized data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to investigate youth risk trajectories for HIV and factors associated with different trajectories. The sample (N = 8,208) was 49.2% female, with a mean age of 14.31 (SD = 1.48). A group-based trajectory model was applied, which identified four distinct trajectories for both males and females: (1) consistently higher sexual risk levels, increasing to early adulthood followed by some decrease (“high”); (2) a short period of increase to late teens, followed by a longer period of decrease (“decreased”); (3) an initially slow increase, with the increase accelerating by late teens, and a slight decline beginning in early adulthood (“increased”); and (4) consistently lowest levels of sexual risk (“low”). More African Americans were found among the decreased trajectory group; among the low risk group a higher number of youth came from families with parents who spoke a language other than English. The high-risk group had a higher percentage of subjects in non-metropolitan areas and highest alcohol use. Among males, being employed and being in the military were associated with inclusion in the high-risk group. Results have implications for specializing prevention strategies for youth with different patterns of sexual risk.

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