Social Capital as a Predictor of Adolescents' Sexual Risk Behavior: A State-Level Exploratory Study
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- Crosby, R.A., Holtgrave, D.R., DiClemente, R.J. et al. AIDS Behav (2003) 7: 245. doi:10.1023/A:1025439618581
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This exploratory study assessed the state-level association between social capital, poverty, and income inequality and adolescents' sexual risk and protective behaviors. A cross-sectional design using state-level correlations was employed. Seven outcome measures from the national 1999 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey were used. For females and males, social capital was significantly associated with five of the seven outcome measures (all associations p < 01). For females, the amount of variance explained by these correlations ranged from 23% to 45%; the range for males was 20% to 52%. Poverty was not a significant predictor of any outcome variable. Income inequality was a significant predictor of birth control usage among females, but in multivariate regression analyses, only social capital retained significance. Findings provide preliminary evidence that social capital may have a profound influence of adolescents' sexual risk and protective behaviors. Social capital was inversely correlated with sexual risk behaviors and positively correlated with protective sexual behaviors. Further and more comprehensive research involving social capital and adolescents is warranted.