Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 45–62 | Cite as

Family Financial Stress and Adolescent Sexual Risk-Taking: The Role of Self-Regulation

  • AliceAnn Crandall
  • Brianna M. Magnusson
  • M. Lelinneth B. Novilla
  • Lynneth Kirsten B. Novilla
  • W. Justin Dyer
Empirical Research

Abstract

The ability to control one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors is known as self-regulation. Family stress and low adolescent self-regulation have been linked with increased engagement in risky sexual behaviors, which peak in late adolescence and early adulthood. The purpose of this study was to assess whether adolescent self-regulation, measured by parent and adolescent self-report and respiratory sinus arrhythmia, mediates or moderates the relationship between family financial stress and risky sexual behaviors. We assessed these relationships in a 4-year longitudinal sample of 450 adolescents (52 % female; 70 % white) and their parents using structural equation modeling. Results indicated that high family financial stress predicts engagement in risky sexual behaviors as mediated, but not moderated, by adolescent self-regulation. The results suggest that adolescent self-regulatory capacities are a mechanism through which proximal external forces influence adolescent risk-taking. Promoting adolescent self-regulation, especially in the face of external stressors, may be an important method to reduce risk-taking behaviors as adolescents transition to adulthood.

Keywords

Adolescence Family stress Respiratory sinus arrhythmia Self-regulation Sexual risk-taking Structural equation modeling 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • AliceAnn Crandall
    • 1
  • Brianna M. Magnusson
    • 1
  • M. Lelinneth B. Novilla
    • 1
  • Lynneth Kirsten B. Novilla
    • 1
  • W. Justin Dyer
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Health ScienceBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Religious EducationBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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