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Prevention Science

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 314–322 | Cite as

Selling and Buying Sex: A Longitudinal Study of Risk and Protective Factors in Adolescence

  • Christine E. KaestleEmail author
Article

Abstract

Engaging in trading sex is associated with many co-occurring problems, including elevated risk for sexually transmitted infections. Various dimensions of social support from parents, schools, and mentors may be protective against sex trading and may ameliorate the impact of risk factors. This study analyzes data from respondents to Waves I and III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) who had not participated in sex trading for money or drugs in Wave I so that risk and protective factors for first initiations of selling or buying sex could be examined longitudinally. About 2% of the study sample began selling sex and about 2% began buying sex between Wave I and Wave III. The respondent’s sex, race/ethnicity, history of sexual abuse, shoplifting, marijuana use, and experiences of homelessness or running away were significant predictors of trading sex (p < 0.05). Being happy at school was associated with lower selling of sex, and feeling part of school was associated with lower buying of sex even after controlling for demographics and risk factors (p < 0.05). Results indicate a need for early intervention for youth who experience sexual abuse or running away. Elements of school connectedness have a protective effect on selling and buying sex. Promoting school connectedness may advance public health goals.

Keywords

Adolescents Sex exchange Sex trading Prostitution 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Sincere thanks go to Annabelle Goodwin for her assistance in gathering and sorting through literature review material. 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 (http://www.cpc.unc.edu/addhealth). No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis.

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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human DevelopmentVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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