Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 265–278 | Cite as

Predicting the Onset of Sexual and Drug Risk Behaviors in HIV-Negative Youths with HIV-Positive Mothers: The Role of Contextual, Self-Regulation, and Social-Interaction Factors

  • Claude A. Mellins
  • Curtis Dolezal
  • Elizabeth Brackis-Cott
  • Ouzama Nicholson
  • Patricia Warne
  • Heino F. L. Meyer-Bahlburg
Original Paper


HIV-negative, inner-city adolescents with HIV-infected parents are considered to be at high risk for acquiring HIV themselves. Using a modified theory of health behavior, this study examined the effects of maternal HIV infection and psychosocial variables on the onset of sexual and drug risk behavior in 144 HIV-negative adolescents with and without HIV-positive mothers. Adolescents and their mothers were interviewed when the youths were 10–14 years old and again when they were 13–19 years old. By follow-up, 42% of youths reported the onset of vaginal sex (vs 5% at baseline). Marijuana and alcohol use increased from 6 and 38%, respectively, at baseline to 25 and 60% at follow-up. Among those reporting risk behaviors, 40--50% reported onset prior to 14 years. Youth and family psychosocial variables, but not maternal HIV status, were associated with risk behaviour outcomes.


Maternal HIV infection Adolescent sexual behavior Adolescent substance use Mental health Social Action Theory 



This research was supported by a grant from W.T. Grant Foundation (Principal Investigator: Claude Ann Mellins #97-1807-97), a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (R01-MH63636; Principal Investigator: Claude Ann Mellins, Ph.D.), and a center grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at NY State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University (P30-MH43520; Center Principal Investigator: Anke A. Ehrhardt, Ph.D).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claude A. Mellins
    • 1
  • Curtis Dolezal
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Brackis-Cott
    • 1
  • Ouzama Nicholson
    • 2
  • Patricia Warne
    • 1
  • Heino F. L. Meyer-Bahlburg
    • 1
  1. 1.HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsColumbia UniversityColumbiaUSA

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