Journal of Risk and Uncertainty

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 217–230 | Cite as

Discount rates and risky sexual behaviors among teenagers and young adults

  • Harrell W. Chesson
  • Jami S. Leichliter
  • Gregory D. Zimet
  • Susan L. Rosenthal
  • David I. Bernstein
  • Kenneth H. Fife


This article examines the relationship between personal discount rates and sexual behaviors in a sample of teenagers and young adults. We find that higher discount rates (an indication of less willingness to forego current consumption for future consumption) are significantly associated with a range of sexual behaviors, including ever having sex, having sex before age 16 years, and past or current pregnancy. These associations are consistent with previous studies showing a link between discounting and other, non-sexual health behaviors.


Discounting Health Sexually transmitted diseases Risky sex Young people 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harrell W. Chesson
    • 1
  • Jami S. Leichliter
    • 1
  • Gregory D. Zimet
    • 2
  • Susan L. Rosenthal
    • 3
  • David I. Bernstein
    • 4
  • Kenneth H. Fife
    • 5
  1. 1.Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAtlanta
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolis
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics and Sealy Center for Vaccine DevelopmentUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalveston
  4. 4.Department of Pediatrics and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterUniversity of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnati
  5. 5.Departments of Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology, and PathologyIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolis

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