Objective: To identify correlates of risky sexual behavior among adolescents surviving childhood cancer.
Methods: The Child Health and Illness Profile-Adolescent Edition (CHIP-AE) was completed by 307 survivors of childhood cancer aged 15-20 years (M age at diagnosis 1.53 years; range 0-3.76). Univariate analyses were performed using χ² and Fisher's Exact tests, and multivariable logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for risky sexual behaviors.
Results: Diagnosis of central nervous system cancer (OR = .13, 95% CI: .02-.96, p < .05), no history of beer or wine consumption (OR = .20, CI: .06-.68, p = .01), and fewer negative peer influences (OR = .28, CI: .09-.84, p = .02) associated with decreased likelihood of sexual intercourse. Good psychological health (scores ≥-1.5 SD on the CHIP-AE Emotional Discomfort scale) associated with decreased risk of early intercourse (OR = .19, CI: .05-.77, p = .02), whereas high parental education (≥ college degree) associated with decreased risk of multiple lifetime sexual partners (OR = .25, CI: .09-.72, p = .01). Increased time from diagnosis (OR = .27, CI: .10-.78, p = .02) and psychological health (OR = .09, CI: .02-.36, p < .01) associated with decreased risk of unprotected sex at last intercourse, whereas high parent education associated with increased risk (OR = 4.27, CI: 1.46-12.52, p = .01).
Conclusions: Risky sexual behavior in adolescents surviving childhood cancer is associated with cancer type, time since diagnosis, psychological health, alcohol use, and peer influences. Consideration of these factors may provide direction for future interventions designed to reduce adolescent sexual risk-taking.