Racial/ethnic disparities in female sexual health from adolescence to young adulthood: how adolescent characteristics matter?


Min, J.; Faerber, J.; Skolnik, A.; & Akers, A. Y. (2020). Racial/ethnic disparities in female sexual health from adolescence to young adulthood: how adolescent characteristics matter?. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. , PMCID: PMC8547142


STUDY OBJECTIVE: To describe sexual initiation pattern in female adolescents and examine its association with adolescent characteristics and racial disparities in adverse sexual health across adolescence into early adulthood. DESIGN: A prospective, longitudinal, observational study from adolescence to adulthood. SETTING: Nationally representative, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health data, ranged 24-32 years old at final assessment. PARTICIPANTS: 43,577 US females in 1994-2008. INTERVENTIONS AND MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Adolescent sex related characteristics in individual-family-school peer level were accessed, and multiple sex partners, STIs/HIV, and inter-partner violence (IPV) were longitudinally tracked. The sexual initiation pattern and its longitudinal association with sexual health were analyzed using latent class analysis and Mixed-effects Poisson regression models. RESULTS: The sexual initiation patterns were determined as normative (65.9%), late (24.8%) and early but unempowered (9.3%). The highest rate of early-unempowered group was shown in Hispanics (14.4%); they were more likely to be depressed, unsatisfied with their bodies and on welfare and have less educated/permissive parents to their sexual initiation than others. The late group had a higher BMI and more satisfaction with their bodies. The highest number of STIs/HIV and IPV victimization was shown in non-Hispanic blacks (NHBs) and Hispanics, respectively. However, NHB females' higher STIs/HIV was shown in late/normative groups, not in early-unempowered group. Among Hispanic females, adolescent sexual initiation patterns were not directly associated with their frequent IPV victimization. CONCLUSIONS: NHB females' higher STI/HIV in late/normative groups and Hispanic females' frequent IPV victimization regardless of their sexual initiation patterns may indicate that racial/ethnic disparities in female sexual health was not directly determined by adolescent risk behaviors.




racial and ethnic differences

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol


Min, J.
Faerber, J.
Skolnik, A.
Akers, A. Y.

Year Published










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