Risky sexual behavior stems from physical abuse for boys, marijuana use for girls

Credit: Case Western Reserve University

What leads to risky sexual behavior in adolescence seems to vary by gender, according to new research from Case Western Reserve University.

For boys, there’s a direct connection to child abuse. For girls, marijuana use appears to be a risk factor.

“In social science research there are so many factors that we cannot control for and, so, we cannot claim cause-and-effect,” said Laura Voith, assistant professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. “But, because the data were collected using a prospective design–meaning individuals were followed longitudinally—we feel much more confident in the pathways uncovered by this research.”

Drawing from the national longitudinal study of more than 1,300 children at-risk for maltreatment were surveyed nationally, this study focused on data collected at ages 12 and following up every two years…

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