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November 1997

Number of Sexual Partners and Health Lifestyle of Adolescents: Use of the AMA Guidelines for Adolescent Preventive Services to Address a Basic Research Question

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Riley Children's Hospital, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(11):1139-1143. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170480069010

Objective:  To expand understanding of the behavioral epidemiology of an important sexually transmitted disease risk factor within a clinical framework of the AMA Guidelines for Adolescent Preventive Services (GAPS): Recommendations and Rationale.

Design:  Cross-sectional analysis of the fourth year of a longitudinal study of adolescent health behavior.

Setting:  High schools in a single major urban school district.

Participants:  Nine hundred and forty-six white, African American, and Hispanic sexually active adolescents.

Main Outcome Measures:  Number of sexual partners in previous year and other health-risk and health-protective behaviors. Measures are operationalized according to guidelines for adolescent preventive services recommendations.

Results:  Adolescents with 3 or more sexual partners annually were more involved with potentially health-harming behaviors such as illicit substance use and less involved with potentially health-protective behaviors such as seat belt use. These relationships were independent of sex, ethnic group, or socioeconomic status.

Conclusions:  The number of sexual partners may be considered part of a larger pattern of adolescent health-risk and health-protective behaviors. The guidelines may provide a useful framework for clinical assessment of these patterns as part of a routine health care visit of adolescent patients.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:1139-1143

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