Sex in the Context of Substance Use: A Study of Perceived Benefits and Risks, Boundaries, and Behaviors among Adolescents Participating in an Internet-Based Intervention

Sonya S Brady, Suzanne C. Jefferson, Ellen Saliares, Carolyn M. Porta, Megan E Patrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Little research has examined adolescents’ perspectives of sex with substance use. This study examined (1) adolescents’ perceived benefits and risks of sex with substance use, as well as boundaries; (2) the potential for positive and negative social influences among adolescents when they discuss these topics; and (3) whether exposure to health-promoting content is associated with trajectories of sex with substance use over a 6-month period. To address the first two objectives, 176 comments were analyzed from 71 adolescents (90% female) aged 14–18 years who participated in an Internet-based sexual health promotion intervention and posted to at least one message board addressing sex with substance use. Adolescents’ perceived benefits and risks of sex with substance use primarily reflected concern for the experience of sex in the moment; perceived risks and boundaries primarily reflected concern for the ability to develop and maintain meaningful relationships. Comments of 63% and 22% of adolescents, respectively, were evaluated to have potential for health-promoting and risk-promoting social influence. To address the third objective, trajectories of self-reported sex with substance use were compared between 89 intervention and 54 control participants. No significant differences were observed. However, a dose–response effect was observed; intervention participants who completed less than one third of assigned tasks reported increases in sex with alcohol or marijuana use over time, while no marked changes or much smaller changes in sex with substance use were observed among intervention participants who completed one third or more tasks. Implications for prevention and intervention programs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1741-1764
Number of pages24
JournalArchives of sexual behavior
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, Division of AIDS (R34 MH086320 to S.S.B.) and a University of Minnesota Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship to S.S.B.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, Division of AIDS (R34 MH086320 to S.S.B.) and a University of Minnesota Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship to S.S.B. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support and contributions of our clinic and school partners; The Annex Teen Clinic; our Program Officer Willo Pequegnat, PhD; videographer Paul Bernhardt, BA; Fuzzy Duck Design and Jared Law, Lead Web Designer & Developer; and the following faculty, staff, and students within the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the time of study implementation: B. R. Simon Rosser, PhD, MPH; Amy J. Kodet, MPP; Vienna D. Rothberg, MSW, MPH; Magdalena Osorio, BA; Ramatoulie Jallow, MPH; Cherese Alcorn, BS; Lee McKenna, BS; Jeffrey Johnson, BS; Douglas Lier, BS; and Gudrun Kilian, BA. The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the Annex Teen Clinic.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Perceived benefits
  • Perceived risks
  • Sexual boundaries
  • Marijuana Use
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Risk Assessment
  • Humans
  • Internet-Based Intervention
  • Male
  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • Adolescent Behavior

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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