Number of sexual partners and health lifestyle of adolescents: Use of the AMA Guidelines for Adolescent Preventive Services to address a basic research question

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Objective: To expand understanding of the behavioral epidemiology of an important sexually transmitted disease risk factor within a clinical framework of the AMA Guidelines for Adolescent Preventive Services (GAPS): Recommendations and Rationale. Design: Cross-sectional analysis of the fourth year of a longitudinal study of adolescent health behavior. Setting: High schools in a single major urban school district. Participants: Nine hundred and forty-six white, African American, and Hispanic sexually active adolescents. Main Outcome Measures: Number of sexual partners in previous year and other health-risk and health-protective behaviors. Measures are operationalized according to guidelines for adolescent preventive services recommendations. Results: Adolescents with 3 or more sexual partners annually were more involved with potentially health-harming behaviors such as illicit substance use and less involved with potentially health-protective behaviors such as seat belt use. These relationships were independent of sex, ethnic group, or socioeconomic status. Conclusions: The number of sexual partners may be considered part of a larger pattern of adolescent health-risk and health-protective behaviors. The guidelines may provide a useful framework for clinical assessment of these patterns as part of a routine health care visit of adolescent patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1139-1143
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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