Sexual Initiation and Emotional/Behavioral Problems in Taiwanese Adolescents: A Multivariate Response Profile Analysis
This study aimed to investigate the relations of adolescent sexual experiences (particularly early initiation) to a spectrum of emotional/behavioral problems and to probe possible gender difference in such relationships. The 10th (N = 8,842) and 12th (N = 10,083) grade students, aged 16–19 years, participating in national surveys in 2005 and 2006 in Taiwan were included for this study. A self-administered web-based questionnaire was designed to collect information on sociodemographic characteristics, sexual experience, substance use, and the Youth Self-Report Form. For the sexually experienced adolescents, their sexual initiation was classified as early initiation (<16 years) or non-early initiation (16–19 years). Gender-specific multivariate response profile regression was used to examine the relationship between sexual experience and the behavioral syndromes. Externalizing problems, including Rule-breaking Behavior and Aggressive Behavior, were strongly associated with sexual initiation in adolescence; the magnitude of the association increased for earlier sexual initiation, especially for females. As to internalizing problems, the connection was rather heterogeneous. The scores on some syndromes, such as Somatic Complaints and Anxious/Depressed, were higher only for females with early or non-early sexual initiation whereas the score on Withdrawn, along with Social Problems that is neither internalizing nor externalizing, was lower for the sexually experienced adolescents than for the sexually inexperienced ones. We concluded that earlier sexual initiation was associated with a wider range of behavioral problems in adolescents for both genders, yet the increased risk with emotional problems was predominately found in females.
KeywordsAdolescents Sexual behavior Youth Self-Report Emotional and behavioral problems
- Achenbach, T. M. (1995). Manual for the Youth Self-Report and 1991 Profile. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.Google Scholar
- Balaji, A., Lowry, R., Brener, N., Kann, L., Romero, L., & Wechsler, H. (2008). Trends in HIV-and STD-related risk behaviors among high school students: United States, 1991-2007. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 57, 817–822.Google Scholar
- Caminis, A., Henrich, C., Ruchkin, V., Schwab-Stone, M., & Martin, A. (2007). Psychosocial predictors of sexual initiation and high-risk sexual behaviors in early adolescence. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 1, 14. http://www.capmh.com/content/1/1/14.
- Chen, W. J., Fu, T.-C., Ting, T.-T., Huang, W.-L., Tang, G.-M., Hsiao, C. K., et al. (2009). Use of ecstasy and other psychoactive substances among school-attending adolescents in Taiwan: National surveys 2004-2006. BMC Public Health, 9, 27. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-27.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Crouter, A. C., & Booth, A. (Eds.). (2006). Romance and sex in adolescence and emerging adulthood: Risks and opportunities (pp. 127–177). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Department of Health. (2008). Taiwan Youth Health Survey. Taipei: Bureau of Health Promotion, Department of Health.Google Scholar
- Ivanova, M., Achenbach, T. M., Rescorla, L., Dumenci, L., Almqvist, F., Bilenberg, N., … Verhulst, F. (2007). The generalizability of the Youth Self-Report syndrome structure in 23 societies. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75, 729–738.Google Scholar
- Jackson, C., Sweeting, H., & Haw, S. (2012). Clustering of substance use and sexual risk behaviour in adolescence: Analysis of two cohort studies. BMJ Open, 2. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000661.
- Lee, E. S., & Forthofer, R. N. (Eds.). (2005). Analyzing complex survey data. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Ma, Q., Ono-Kihara, M., Cong, L., Xu, G., Pan, X., Zamani, S., … Kihara, M. (2009). Early initiation of sexual activity: A risk factor for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV infection, and unwanted pregnancy among university students in China. BMC Public Health, 9, 111. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-111.
- Martin, A., Ruchkin, V., Caminis, A., Vermeiren, R., Henrich, C. C., & Schwab-Stone, M. (2005). Early to bed: A study of adaptation among sexually active urban adolescent girls younger than age sixteen. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 44, 358–367.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Schofield, H.-L., Bierman, K., Heinrichs, B., Nix, R., & Group, C. P. P. R. (2008). Predicting early sexual activity with behavior problems exhibited at school entry and in early adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36, 1175–1188.Google Scholar
- Zabin, L. S., Emerson, M. R., Nan, L., Chaohua, L., Ersheng, G., Minh, N. H., … Blum, R. (2009). Levels of change in adolescent sexual behavior in three Asian cities. Studies in Family Planning, 40, 1–12.Google Scholar