Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Risky Sexual Behavior in Adolescence

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2008

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The University of Maryland McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal, 1, no. 1 (Winter 2008): 187-201.

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Abstract

According to the literature, many adolescents diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have been shown to engage in risky sexual behavior (Flory, Molina, Pelman, Gnagy, Smith, 2006). However, it still remains unknown which particular social and environmental factors influence this positive correlation. Thus, this research examines the social and environmental risk factors that influence risky sexual behavior in adolescence. The results from this research has identified that adolescents reporting having sexual intercourse in their lifetime scored significantly higher on parent reports of externalizing problems, attention problems, rule breaking behavior, and aggressive behavior. Additionally, adolescents that scored high on externalizing symptoms were more likely to report a greater number of sexual partners, and adolescents scoring higher. There also seemed to be a significant gender difference, such that females scored significantly higher on parent reports of total ADHD problems. Considering the potential health problems associated with risky sexual behavior, it is important to identify the specific factors that increase this likelihood among diagnosed adolescents, and to formulate ways to address this issue and thereby reduce its occurrence.

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