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Teenage Sex and Risky Behavior Linked

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Updated February 17, 2004

Updated February 17, 2004

Teenage girls who have sex with more than one partner in a short period of time are more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, such as fighting, binge drinking, smoking cigarettes, using cocaine or sniffing glue, according to a new study by two University of Maryland researchers.

In a paper published in the American Journal of Health Behavior, Donna Howard and Min Qi Wang looked at survey responses of more than 3000 ninth grade girls who said they had had sex at least once in a three-month period.

"We found that if they had sex one time and then engaged in other short-term relationships, they were at higher risk for other risky behavior," said Howard, an assistant professor of public and community health.

"This finding with the ninth-grade age group appears to be new," said Howard, "and it is consequential. It is a transition time into high school, and if there is pressure on these girls to engage in intimate behavior, we need to look at intervention strategies."

The survey responses were gathered from the 1999 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey. - The University of Maryland Articles in The Science of Mental Health are written by the originating institution. This article was originally posted to Newswise.

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