Original Paper

The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 677-696

First online:

Disentangling Adolescent Pathways of Sexual Risk Taking

  • Kathryn A. BrookmeyerAffiliated withCenters for Disease Control and Prevention Email author 
  • , Christopher C. HenrichAffiliated withGeorgia State University

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Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, the authors aimed to describe the pathways of risk within sexual risk taking, alcohol use, and delinquency, and then identify how the trajectory of sexual risk is linked to alcohol use and delinquency. Risk trajectories were measured with adolescents aged 15–24 years (N = 1,778). Using Latent Class Growth Analyses (LCGA), models indicated that the majority of adolescents engaged in sexual risk and alcohol use. In joint trajectory analyses, LCGA revealed six risk taking classes: sex and alcohol, moderate risk taking, joint risk taking, moderate alcohol, alcohol risk, and alcohol and delinquency experimentation. Editors’ Strategic Implications: School administrators and curriculum designers should pay attention to the study’s findings with respect to the need for prevention programs to target early adolescents and integrate prevention messages about alcohol use and sexual risk taking.


Adolescence Risk taking Sexual risk Latent class growth analyses