To Know That We Know What We Know: Perceived Knowledge and Adolescent Sexual Risk Behavior

Ellen M. Rock, M. Ireland, Michael D Resnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Study Objective: To examine the relationship between perceived knowledge about sex and adolescent sexual behaviors. Design: Secondary analysis of the 2001 Minnesota Student Survey. Bivariate and multivariate relationships between perceived knowledge about sex and sexual behaviors were examined. Setting: Minnesota. Participants: 83,481 9th and 12th grade public school students. Main Outcome Measures: Students' report of sexual experience and sexual behaviors. Results: Students with low perceived knowledge were less likely to be sexually experienced (OR = 0.22, CI = 0.17-0.29, females, OR = 0.70, CI = 0.59-0.82, males, P = 0.00). Among sexually active students, those with low perceived knowledge also had significantly higher odds of engaging in risky sexual behaviors. Sexually experienced females with low perceived knowledge were more likely to report not talking with their partners about STIs (OR = 1.83, CI = 1.1-3.16, P = 0.02), a history of pregnancy (OR = 2.87, CI = 1.59-5.18, P = 0.00), and had higher numbers of male (P = 0.03) and female (P = 0.00) sexual partners. Sexually experienced males with low perceived knowledge were more likely to report not talking with their partners about pregnancy (OR = 1.43, CI = 1.11-1.84, P = 0.01), pregnancy involvement (OR = 2.22, CI = 1.65-2.95, P = 0.00), inconsistent use of birth control (OR = 1.30, CI = 1.01-1.68, P = 0.04), inconsistent use of condoms (OR = 1.79, CI = 1.38-2.32, P = 0.00), not using a condom at last intercourse (OR = 1.58, CI = 1.22-2.04, P = 0.00), and had a higher numbers of male (P = 0.00) Conclusions: Perceived knowledge may be a salient antecedent of adolescent sexual risk behavior. Health care providers and programs should incorporate the construct of perceived knowledge into their assessments of and interventions targeted at adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-376
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology
Volume16
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2003

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Perceived knowledge
  • Sexual risk behavior

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