Affect Regulation, Social Context, and Sexual Intercourse in Adolescents
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This study examined trajectories of positive and negative affect surrounding penile–vaginal sexual intercourse (sex) in adolescents and explored the influence of companionship on these trajectories. Using a handheld computer, sexually active adolescents (N = 67) reported momentary affect and sex events in response to several random signals each day for 1 week (1,777 reports, 266 sex events). Cubic spline regression analyses showed that positive affect began to increase before sex, peaked at the time sex was reported, and then returned to baseline. Negative affect did not differ from baseline before sex, but decreased following sex. Improvement in affect before and after sex varied according to companionship. Understanding the complex associations of affect, companionship, and sex has implications for interpreting and intervening on adolescent sexual behavior in social context.
KeywordsAdolescents Sexual behavior Affect Social context Momentary sampling
This research was funded by the Charles A. Janeway Award, Child Health Research Center, Children’s Hospital Boston; Project 5-T71MC-00009-13, Maternal and Child Health Bureau; and Grant 5 K23 MH01845, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health. The authors would like to thank Carol Whalen, Ph.D., and Larry Jamner, Ph.D., for use of their Experience Sampling Program. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the Editor and the anonymous reviewers for their comments on a previous version of this article.
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