Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 209–225 | Cite as

An Assessment of HIV/STI Vulnerability and Related Sexual Risk-Taking in a Nationally Representative Sample of Young Croatian Adults

  • Aleksandar ŠtulhoferEmail author
  • Cynthia Graham
  • Ivana Božičević
  • Krešimir Kufrin
  • Dean Ajduković
Original Paper


Despite the recent increase in the number of HIV infections in Central and Eastern Europe, patterns of sexual behavior have not been extensively researched, particularly among young people. The aim of the present study was to provide a comprehensive assessment of HIV/AIDS-related vulnerability and sexual risk-taking among young adults in Croatia. Data were collected in 2005 using a nationally representative, multi-stage stratified probability sample (n = 1,093) of women and men aged 18–24 years. The focus in this article was on predictors of sexual risk-taking measured by a composite risky sexual behaviors scale. Using hierarchical regression models, we analyzed gendered effects of community, family, peer group, and individual level factors. For both men and women, peer pressure, sensation seeking, personal risk-assessment, behavioral intention, condom use at first sexual intercourse, and sexual victimization were significant predictors of sexual risk-taking behaviors. A number of predictors were gender-specific: sexual assertiveness and condom self-efficacy for women and parental monitoring, traditional morality, HIV knowledge, and talking about sex with partner for men. Documenting substantial prevalence of potentially risky sexual behaviors among young people in Croatia, the findings call for prevention and intervention efforts that should focus on individual capacity building for responsible sexual behavior.


HIV STI Sexual risk taking Young adults Gender Vulnerability Croatia 



This study was funded by the Global Fund to Fighting AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (national grant) and the Croatian Ministry of Health and Social Care. The authors are grateful to Ivan Landripet, Jelena Zelenbrz, Dea Ajduković, and Tanja Vučković for their assistance in preparing the research study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aleksandar Štulhofer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cynthia Graham
    • 2
  • Ivana Božičević
    • 3
  • Krešimir Kufrin
    • 1
  • Dean Ajduković
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of SociologyUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Oxford Doctoral Course in Clinical PsychologyIsis Education Centre, Warneford HospitalOxfordEngland, UK
  3. 3.School of Public HealthUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia

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