Discount rates and risky sexual behaviors among teenagers and young adults

Harrell W. Chesson, Jami S. Leichliter, Gregory D. Zimet, Susan L. Rosenthal, David I. Bernstein, Kenneth H. Fife

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


This article examines the relationship between personal discount rates and sexual behaviors in a sample of teenagers and young adults. We find that higher discount rates (an indication of less willingness to forego current consumption for future consumption) are significantly associated with a range of sexual behaviors, including ever having sex, having sex before age 16 years, and past or current pregnancy. These associations are consistent with previous studies showing a link between discounting and other, non-sexual health behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-230
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Risk and Uncertainty
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Discounting
  • Health
  • Risky sex
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Young people

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Economics and Econometrics

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