The Association between Substance Abuse and Sexual Misconduct among Macau Youths

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 May 11;16(9):1643. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16091643.


This study investigates how peer influence, school attachment, and substance abuse are related to sexual behavior, with particular interest in exploring the relationship between substance abuse and sexual misconduct, while using a stratified random sample of adolescents in Macau. Mediation analyses were employed. The results show that substance abuse, apart from susceptibility to peer influence and school attachment/commitment, was significantly related to sexual misconduct. Substance abuse was the best predictor of sexual misconduct, and it significantly mediated the relationship between susceptibility to peer influence, as well as school attachment and sexual misconduct. This reflects that the use of substances, including drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, can be viewed as a catalyst for triggering engagement in sexual misconduct. The implications of this study involve taking measures to reduce the rate of substance abuse as a way of decreasing sexual misconduct in adolescents. Future research directions in exploring the relationship between adolescent substance abuse and risky sexual behavior are discussed.

Keywords: Macau; peer influence; school attachment; sexual behavior; substance abuse; youth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Macau
  • Male
  • Peer Influence*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Schools / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Offenses / psychology*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*