Depressive Symptoms and Sexual Risk Behavior in Young, Chlamydia-Infected, Heterosexual Dyads

Lydia A. Shrier, Julia A. Schillinger, Parul Aneja, Peter A. Rice, Byron E. Batteiger, Phillip G. Braslins, Donald P. Orr, J. Dennis Fortenberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine associations between depressive symptoms and dyad-level sexual risk behavior in young heterosexual dyads with sexually transmitted infection (STI). Methods: Chlamydia-positive 14-24-year-old, heterosexually active outpatients and their opposite-sex partners completed an assessment that included demographics, past and recent STI risk behaviors, and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Participants in the top 25% of BDI scores within gender were categorized as depressed. Variables were created to identify dyads in which the female or male partner was depressed, as well as a measure of concordance of depression between partners. Dyad-level STI risk variables were created from the STI risk characteristics reported by each dyad member, and associations between these and the depression variables were analyzed. Results: The 130 dyads were comprised of young men and women at high STI risk. One-third of dyads had at least one depressed partner. Dyads in which the female partner was depressed had greater partner age difference, greater total number of lifetime partners, and one or more partners reporting substance use within 2 hours before sex, compared with dyads in which the female partner was not depressed. Dyads in which the male partner was depressed were more likely than the nondepressed-male dyads to report substance use before sex. All dyads in which both partners were depressed reported substance use before sex. Conclusions: In young, chlamydia-infected, heterosexual dyads, depressive symptoms, especially in women, is related to increased dyad-level STI risk, including greater partner age difference, more partners, and substance use before sex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009


  • Depressive symptoms
  • Dyad
  • Sexual partners
  • Unsafe sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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