Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 303–316

Individual and community risk factors and sexually transmitted diseases among arrested youths: a two level analysis

  • Richard Dembo
  • Steven Belenko
  • Kristina Childs
  • Jennifer Wareham
  • James Schmeidler


High rates of infection for chlamydia and gonorrhea have been noted among youths involved in the juvenile justice system. Although both individual and community-level factors have been found to be associated with sexually transmitted disease (STD) risk, their relative importance has not been tested in this population. A two-level logistic regression analysis was completed to assess the influence of individual-level and community-level predictors on STD test results among arrested youths processed at a centralized intake facility. Results from weighted two level logistic regression analyses (n = 1,368) indicated individual-level factors of gender (being female), age, race (being African American), and criminal history predicted the youths’ positive STD status. For the community-level predictors, concentrated disadvantage significantly and positively predicted the youths’ STD status. Implications of these findings for future research and public health policy are discussed.


Juvenile delinquents Sexually transmitted diseases Personal risk factors Community risk factors 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Dembo
    • 1
  • Steven Belenko
    • 2
  • Kristina Childs
    • 3
  • Jennifer Wareham
    • 4
  • James Schmeidler
    • 5
  1. 1.Criminology DepartmentUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Criminal JusticeTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of New OrleansNew OrleansUSA
  4. 4.Department of Criminal JusticeWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  5. 5.Departments of Psychiatry and Biomathematical SciencesMt. Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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