Early sexual debut and risky sex in young adults: The role of low self-control

BMC Public Health Nov 17, 2019

Magnusson BM, et al. - Utilizing data on 5,734 male and female Add Health participants, researchers determined if and how low self-control acts as a mediator or moderator between early age at sexual debut and risky sexual behavior in young adulthood. The links of interest were evaluated by employing a structural equation modeling framework consisting of self-control (waves 1 & 3), age at sexual debut (wave 3) and risky sexual behavior (wave 4). At first sexual intercourse, nearly 17% of respondents were < 15 years. The link between low self-control at wave 1 and risky sexual behaviors in young adulthood was found to be mediated by both early age at first intercourse and low self-control at wave 3 in women only. Similarly in the male-only model, the link between low self-control and risky sexual behaviors in young adulthood was mediated by both early age at first intercourse and low self-control at wave 3. In this study, the role of executive functions in sexual behaviors was corroborated. The possible benefit from interventions directed at improving self-control was suggested for decreasing risky sexual behavior.
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