Heterogeneity of Sexual Risk Profiles Among Juvenile Justice-Involved African American Girls

Abstract

Background

Juvenile justice-involved African American girls are considered uniformly high-risk for adverse sexual health outcomes such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy; however, their sexual health statuses may be more complex.

Objective

The present study assessed whether diverse subgroups of sexual risk exist and explored variations by socio-contextual indicators and sexual health outcomes.

Method

The sample consisted of 188 detained African American adolescent girls. Six key sexual risk model indicators were selected for latent class analysis: early sex initiation, unprotected sex, high number of sex partners, sex while intoxicated, having sex with a recently incarcerated partner, and trading sex.

Results

Results revealed a four-class solution: “Lowest Risk” (40.3%), with relatively low endorsement of sexual risk items; “Precocious Debut” (19.5%), with early sexual initiation and highest number of sex partners; “Delayed Risk” (30.3%), with later sexual debut but elevated unprotected sex and number of sex partners; and “Highest Risk” (9.9%), with the highest proportions on most indicators, but lower numbers of sex partners compared to Precocious Debut. Classes differed significantly on sexual health outcomes and demographic, neighborhood, peer, family, and individual factors. High Risk, Precocious Debut, and Delayed Risk were associated with greater prevalence of STIs. Lowest Risk and Precocious Debut classes had fewer prior pregnancies. Lowest Risk girls were significantly lower on a range of risk outcomes.

Conclusions

Heterogeneous profiles of sexual risk may inform future prevention and interventions for at-risk or detained African American girls.

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Fig. 1

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Logan-Greene, P., Bascug, E.W., DiClemente, R.J. et al. Heterogeneity of Sexual Risk Profiles Among Juvenile Justice-Involved African American Girls. Child Youth Care Forum (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-020-09594-x

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Keywords

  • African American
  • Adolescent girls
  • Juvenile justice
  • Sexual risk
  • Latent class analysis