Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 467–475 | Cite as

Prevalence of High-Risk Sexual Behaviors Among Monoracial and Multiracial Groups from a National Sample: Are Multiracial Young Adults at Greater Risk?

Original Paper


The present study compared the prevalence and variation in high-risk sexual behaviors among four monoracial (i.e., White, African American, Asian, Native American) and four multiracial (i.e., White/African American, White/Asian, White/Native American, African American/Native American) young adults using Wave IV data (2008–2009) from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 9724). Findings indicated differences in the sexual behavior of monoracial and multiracial young adults, but directions of differences varied depending on the monoracial group used as the referent and gender. Among males, White/African Americans had higher risk than Whites; White/Native Americans had higher risk than Native Americans. Otherwise, multiracial groups had lower risk or did not differ from the single-race groups. Among females, White/Native Americans had higher risk than Whites; White/African Americans had higher risk than African Americans. Other comparisons showed no differences or had lower risk among multiracial groups. Variations in high-risk sexual behaviors underscore the need for health research to disaggregate multiracial groups to better understand health behaviors and outcomes in the context of experiences associated with a multiracial background, and to improve prevention strategies.


Sexual behavior Multiracial Young adults 



Research reported in this publication was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number T32HD007376, awarded to the Center for Developmental Science at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. This research uses data from Add Health, a program project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website ( No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis. Halpern’s effort was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (grant R01-HD57046; C. T. Halpern, Principal Investigator) and by the Carolina Population Center (grant 5 R24 HD050924, awarded to the Carolina Population Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antoinette M. Landor
    • 1
  • Carolyn Tucker Halpern
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family ScienceUniversity of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Maternal and Child Health, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina-Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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