Adolescent partner-type experience: psychosocial and behavioral differences

Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2005 Sep;37(3):141-7. doi: 10.1363/psrh.37.141.05.


Context: Adolescents behave differently with main and casual sexual partners. These differences in behavior may be due to how adolescents perceive main and casual partners, but may also be informed by which types of partners adolescents have had experience with.

Methods: Data were collected in interviews with 276 sexually experienced STD clinic attendees in 1996-1998. Chi square tests and one-way analyses of variance were conducted to compare risk and protective variables among groups with different types of partner experience (main only, casual only, main and casual). Post hoc analyses determined differences between pairs of groups.

Results: Adolescents with different partner-type experiences evidenced different risk and protective factors. For example, adolescents who had had only main partners perceived a greater risk of contracting STDs from both main and casual partners than those who had had both partner types. Women in the casual-only group were the least likely to have been pregnant. Adolescents who had had main and casual partners intended a significantly shorter delay in initiating sex with a new main partner than did those in the main-only group; they also more strongly intended to have a side partner than did those who had had only main partners.

Conclusions: The design of risk reduction and prevention interventions for at-risk sexually experienced adolescents ought to consider adolescents' sexual partner-type experiences and tailor messages to capitalize on associated protective factors and address or minimize associated risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior* / psychology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Coitus* / psychology
  • Contraception Behavior* / psychology
  • Contraception Behavior* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • San Francisco / epidemiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Partners* / psychology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases* / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires