Sexual Health Vol. 9; No. 3: P. 254-260 (06..12)
Depression is known to be associated with risk-taking by adolescents. Yet Canadian studies on the topic “are few, many have lacked appropriate controls, and none has examined the associations of depression with multiple sexual risk-taking behaviors,” the authors noted. In the current study, the research team tested associations between multiple sexual risk-taking and risk of depression — while controlling for factors including social capital — among high-school students in Nova Scotia.
The survey respondents — sexually active male (n=418) and female (n=467) adolescents — were asked about their risk of depression, perceptions of social capital, substance use, sociodemographic factors and sexual behaviors. Associations of risk of depression with various levels of risk-taking were determined by multinomial logistic regressions.
Unadjusted models showed risk of depression was associated with two or more versus no sexual risk behaviors for males and females alike. After controlling for other variables, the risk of depression remained significantly associated with two or more sexual risks versus no risk for females and males (relative risk ratios of 2.5; 95 percent confidence interval 1.4-4.5 and 3.5; 95 percent CI 1.6-7.82, respectively) and for one risk versus no risks for females (RRR=1.9; 95 percent CI 1.1-3.5). Among females, one measure of social capital was associated with multiple risks.
“The consistent, independent associations of risk of depression with multiple sexual risks should lead health care workers interacting with adolescents to ask about sexual risk behaviors among patients with symptoms of depression,” the authors concluded. “Alternatively, patients who engage in sexual risk-taking might be screened for depression.”