Kristin L. Moilanen, Ph.D.

Visiting Senior Research Specialist, University of Illinois at Chicago

Risky Sexual Behavior

Part of a book

Kristin L. Moilanen
The encyclopedia of child and adolescent development (Vol. X): The development of the self in adolescence, S. Hupp (Series Ed.), J. Jewell (Series Ed.), R. Galliher (Volume Ed.), Wiley-Blackwell, 2020

Semantic Scholar DOI


APA   Click to copy
Moilanen, K. L. (2020). Risky Sexual Behavior. In S. H. (S. Ed.), J. J. (S. Ed.), & R. G. (V. Ed.) (Eds.). Wiley-Blackwell.

Chicago/Turabian   Click to copy
Moilanen, Kristin L. “Risky Sexual Behavior.” In , edited by S. Hupp (Series Ed.), J. Jewell (Series Ed.), and R. Galliher (Volume Ed.). The encyclopedia of child and adolescent development (Vol. X): The development of the self in adolescence. Wiley-Blackwell, 2020.

MLA   Click to copy
Moilanen, Kristin L. Risky Sexual Behavior. Edited by S. Hupp (Series Ed.) et al., Wiley-Blackwell, 2020, doi:10.1002/9781119171492.wecad491.

BibTeX   Click to copy

  title = {Risky Sexual Behavior},
  year = {2020},
  publisher = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series = {The encyclopedia of child and adolescent development (Vol. X): The development of the self in adolescence},
  doi = {10.1002/9781119171492.wecad491},
  author = {Moilanen, Kristin L.},
  editor = {Ed.), S. Hupp (Series and Ed.), J. Jewell (Series and Ed.), R. Galliher (Volume}


The clearest risks of adolescents' sexual behavior are pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Less obvious risks include: exploitation by one person of another; preoccupation with physical relations at the expense of other aspects of relationships; and strains on relations with peers and parents. The surest way to avoid the risks of sexual behavior is not to engage in it. Short of abstinence, condoms and other forms of protection can reduce the risks. When used properly, condoms reduce the risk of pregnancy and of contracting STDs, including HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the cause of AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). The threat of HIV/AIDS appears to be responsible for adolescents' increased use of condoms. However, many sexually active teens use contraception inconsistently or not at all. Recent data indicate that approximately one-third of teen girls were completely unprotected the last time they had sex, and an additional one-third of sexually active teens who do use contraception use it inconsistently (National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2000). Factors related to adolescent contraceptive use There are many individual factors that play a role in teens' • Socioeconomic status: Being from a low income family has been found to predict lower rates of contraceptive use compared to the overall population • Age: Younger adolescents, especially those 15 and under, are less likely than older adolescents to use contraceptives (Hofferth, 1990; National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2000). • Peers: Adolescents whose friends are actively engaged in risky sexual practices are less likely to protect themselves during sex. • Sexual partner's attitudes about condoms: Decisions about contraception are influenced by sexual partners. More than one-half of teens surveyed in a 2000 study said that one of the main reasons " In general, the findings suggest that adults—and teens, in particular—express more cautious attitudes toward early and casual sex than perhaps is generally believed. The survey results also indicate that large majorities of both adults and teens support a strong abstinence message for teens coupled with information about the benefits and limitations of contraception. "


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